REVIEW: The Sharing Knife: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dear Ms. Bujold:
I shared in my previous letter to you regarding Beguilement that I had never read you before despite many romance readers claiming you as their favorite “cross over” author. Yesterday, Janet and Janine, wroet about cross pollenization or the blending of genres together to create a more magnetic, fulfilling whole. In the duology, The Sharing Knife, I think you represent the goal of cross pollenization. The world building is particularly fine, full and rich with detail. There wasn’t a moment during the story that I felt I was reading a modern story in burlap clothing. Set amongst this rich backdrop is familiar romance yarn: two individuals of disparate backgrounds must decide whether being together is worth forsaking all else.
Fawn and Dag have married and are embarking on the final leg of their wedding journey home to meet Dag’s family who are located at the Hickory Lake Camp. While Fawn’s family gave reluctant approval to her and Dag’s union, Dag’s family is less than thrilled with Dag’s mother leading a faction of the camp against them.
In the midst of the conflict at home, Dag is forced to leave Fawn and fight a malice uprising. Dag is tired of the fighting, both with his family and with the malices. He’s convinced, having been with Fawn and seen her goodness and that of members of her family, that the Lakewalkers and the farmers should be working together instead of fostering mistrust and hatred toward each other.
Of all the vileness in this long struggle, the malices’ mind-theft of people who should be the Lakerwalkers’ friends and allies was the worst. Even when the patrollers won, they lost, in the clashes that left farmer corpses in their wake. We all lose. Dag shook out his throbbing hand. That might have been Sorrel. Somebody’s husband, father, father-in-law, friend.
I hate fighting. Oh, Fawn, I’m so tired of this.
It’s no wonder that Dag loves Fawn so. As Fawn spends more time at the Hickory Lake Camp, she begins to come into her own. In the space of two books, Fawn develops from girl-child to woman, learning while Dag is gone that she can, and must, stand for herself. “She didn’t have to cling to Dag like a drowning woman clutching the only branch in the torrent.” Fawn recognizes that what Dag needs from her is for her to love him, Dag, for nothing more than being Dag. “Everybody, it seeemed, wanted Dag for something. . . . Didn’t anyone want Dag just for Dag? Without justification, like a milkweed or a water lily or, or . . . a summer night with fireflies.”
The world is changing and Dag and Fawn, simplistically, represent that change. Together, they represent the best of their societies, not because they are the best but because they are willing to work together to save farmers, Lakewalkers and each other. Together, they form a perfect union, with each a half of a better whole.
In the true spirit of cross pollinization, you have crafted a wonderful romance and a unique other world setting that would seem to be able to satisfy both the romance reader and the fantasy reader. A-.
Can’t. Wait. Bujold is my favorite author and I loved the first book in this duo!
I was already impressed by Fawn’s development in book 1, and I’m glad to see it continues here. I guess she’s kind of overshadowed by Dag, because he’s just so wonderful, but she’s a pretty incredible character on her own.
I think the story was equal parts Dag and Fawn, some because they were separated and some because Fawn plays a vital role in saving Dag’s life in this book.
I do think that Shinn and Bujold do something special by providing a very romantic story within the fantasy boundaries.
I have the first one and I am going to eventually get this one, but I can already tell you I hope she continues on with this couple and all of their adventures or has some more stories in mind for this world.
It definitely seemed open ended to me which was confusing because as a duology, I assume that there would only be two books.
Jane, you must read Shards of Honor by Bujold. Even better than the Beguilement books.
I want this book soooo bad. I absolutely loved Beguilement. But I had Amazon ship it to NC so I won’t be able to read it for a couple weeks. :(
I heard somewhere (sorry, can’t remember where, maybe Li?) that Bujold is planning two more books in this world. Maybe focusing on other main characters, though.
Yeah, I just found it on Bujold’s site. Here. She’s contracted for two more books that are sort of sequels to TSK. But she doesn’t say much more than that.
I think Fawn and Dag appear in the next book – it’s meant to be two duologies, i.e. four books in total. And then she’s doing another Vorkosigan book :-)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the TSK books, but I *love* the Vorkosigan ones. I’m going to look out for this book sometime this weekend, hopefully.
Oh, and off-topic, but slightly related – another really good romance/fantasy series is Anne Bishop’s “Black Jewels” trilogy, though that is dark fantasy. It’s been a while since I read it now, but I remember absolutely loving the characters and her world.
The next two books in the series were originally The Wide Green World (part 1 and 2) Can’t remember what they got changed to. There’s supposed to be a new Vorkosigan book in 2008, woot!
OK, I looked it up: The Sharing Knife 3 is Grace River and The Sharing Knife 4 is The Wide Green World.
New Vorkosigan! Woot is right!
I’m looking forward to this book reviewed here, too.
At a book signing in San Francisco on June 30th, Lois McMaster Bujold mentioned those two titles for the next volumes, Grace River and the Wide Green World, but said that those are preliminary for now and she reserves the right to have a Better Idea before publication. Book 3 is done now and she’s in the home stretch on Book 4. Specifically, she gleefully reported “I’ve left my characters in a really evil place, when I finished up that chapter to come on book tour.” So knowing her writing, that’s probably 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through, or so. :-) Dag and Fawn definitely do return in those, along with plenty of new characters, “over 20, all with their own agendas; it’s more complicated than Miles’ Dinner Party”. I can’t wait!
(Especially compared to ‘Beguilement’) Wow, was ‘Legacy’ depressing… Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge Bujold fan – but after finishing ‘Beguilement’ Sunday morning and then immediately jumping into the car to drive over to Border’s to buy ‘Legacy’ and finishing that Monday – ugh…
Yes, it’s nice to see the continued growth of Fawn and thawing out (;-)) of Dag, but I’d wait after reading ‘Beguilement’ till 3 and 4 come out. (IIRC you don’t get back to Dag and Fawn till later in that duology even.)
i love this book so much you wont believe it