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Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

Beguilement (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Lois McMaster Bujold, Julie Bell (Cover artist), Ervin Serrano (Cover designer)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,908715,160 (3.73)92
Authors:Lois McMaster Bujold
Other authors:Julie Bell (Cover artist), Ervin Serrano (Cover designer)
Info:Eos (2006), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:hb, novel, fantasy, fiction, @D, @L

Work details

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (2006)

  1. 00
    Archangel (Samaria, Book 1) by Sharon Shinn (hoddybook)
  2. 11
    Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan (flemmily)
    flemmily: The Sharing Knife series and the Chronicles of the Warlands series have very similarly treated romances, and both feature unusual urban women who become entrenched in non-urban cultures. The Sharing Knife has more elements of fantasy/magic and is a little more weighty, but both series are very enjoyable.… (more)

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» See also 92 mentions

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This is Bujold’s new fantasy, or the first half it anyway, and it’s well worth the wait. Fawn Bluefield, a young woman from a prosperous but not wealthy farm family, is two months pregnant, and fleeing the disgrace, and even worse the embarrassment, of having her condition discovered while her lover marries the only daughter of a much wealthier neighboring farm family. Traveling on foot to Glassforge, a large town several days away, where she can be anonymous and find work, she has a near encounter with a group of the somewhat mysterious Lakewalkers, who patrol the settled farm areas and the wilderness around them. Not long afterward, she has a much more dangerous encounter, with “bandits” who turn out to be the agents of what farmers call a blight bogle and Lakewakers call a malice. The Lakewalker patrol Fawn saw earlier was malice-hunting, and one of them, a one-handed man called Dag, rescues her from them, deposits her safely (he thinks) at an abandoned nearby farm, and returns to the hunt. Unfortunately, because she’s pregnant, the malice really wants Fawn, and its servants come back for her and drag her off to the malice. Dag, because of his previous detour on her behalf and his tracking of the escaped malice-servants, reaches the same spot not long after. In the ensuing fight, temporarily fully occupied with the malice’s servants and tools, he tosses Fawn his two bone knives, and that’s when things start to go really strange for both of them.

One of those knives was properly primed to kill a malice. The other one wasn’t; it was waiting to be primed, with Dag’s death. A Lakewalker would have known which was which, while Fawn didn’t even know that there should be a difference. She used one knife, with little apparent effect, and then the other, successfully. Afterwards, Dag finds that the unprimed knife is now primed—with the death of Fawn’s unborn child. And Fawn is suffering a miscarriage.

Fawn and Dag are now tied together by the puzzle of that knife. Fawn isn’t willing to go back to her family, and Dag believes it’s vital to take that knife, and Fawn, to more knowledgable heads among the Lakewalkers, to figure out what’s happened and what to do about it. After a few days at the nearby farm (whose owners return, now that the malice is dead) while Fawn recovers enough to travel, they go on to Glassforge, where Dag’s patrol will be gathering to regroup.

Over the next several weeks, Dag and Fawn, each very vulnerable in their separate ways, grow closer and closer—much to the dismay of both Lakewalkers and townsfolk (“farmers” to the Lakewalkers, who apply the term to all settled people) who notice. They also have a great deal to learn about each other, and each other’s culture; there’s ignorance and arrogance on both sides, lying between Lakewalkers and farmers. The farmers and townsfolk who know the malices/blight bogles are real acknowledge some debt to the Lakewalkers who hunt and kill them, but only to a point, and many don’t believe in them and suspect the Lakewalkers of necromancy and even cannibalism; the Lakewalkers, dependent on the settled people not only for a good part of their provisions but also for tools and equipment that simply can’t be manufactured by nomadic tent-dwellers, nevertheless regard the “farmers” as stupid, unimaginative, and largely useless when they’re not being a burden. The easy communication between Dag and Fawn doesn’t make their relationship with each other or their return to Fawn’s family any less complicated. It’s not really possible to say much about the second half of the book for someone who hasn’t read it yet. It’s superficially quite straightforward, and actually fairly complex.

And yes, this is the first half. Read it anyway.

Highly recommended. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Meh. Just... can't... stop... reading... Bujold... ( )
  hatpin | Jun 17, 2018 |
I don't really read romance novels. I think it is a good novel, but just not as much suited for me as the Vorkosigan novels or world of the five gods stuff. The age difference kind of bothers me too. But well written certainly, I may finish the series, I'm not sure. ( )
  gabarito | May 13, 2018 |
After reading The Hallowed Hunt by Bujold, I was happy to see several more by her on the library shelf including this one. I was really disappointed in this. It has potential, but all the enticing parts of the story are overshadowed by the romance -- and the romance isn't good enough to compensate. I didn't find either of the main characters to be that engaging or believable and their relationship was irritating. Their age difference only made it worse. The supporting characters were flat. I felt like the author wanted the reader to supply the stereotype and be contented with the outline of the character she provided. It feels like a romance written for a tween but with all of the implied horizontal action and the disturbing age difference, I wouldn't be letting my child read this. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
While it was no hardship to listen to Bernadette Dunne's narration of this first book in The Sharing Knife trilogy, ultimately I found myself disappointed. This fantasy novel by one of my favorite sci fi/fantasy authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, was much more focused on the Romeo & Juliet style romance between Fawn and Dag (including some graphic sex scenes). There is some adventure and a little world building but much less than I had expected. And perhaps it is my own advancing age, but I have to say that the age difference between Fawn (17 or 18) and Dag (58) made me cringe. I am unsure whether I will continue in this trilogy... ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 3, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bujold, Lois McMasterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, JulieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunne, BernadetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serrano, ErvinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fawn came to the well-house a little before noon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This paperback edition has a similar cover design to the 2006 hardback edition, and was available for sale prior to 20-07-2007.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061139076, Mass Market Paperback)

An epic fantasy of devotion, destiny, and perilous magic, from one of the most honored writers in the field— multiple Hugo Award-winning author Lois McMaster Bujold

Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family’s farm. But on the way to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, nomadic soldier-sorcerers from the northern woodlands. Feared necromancers armed with mysterious knives made of human bone, they wage a secret on-going war against the scourge of the “malices,” immortal entities that draw the life out of their victims, enslaving human and animal alike. It is Dag—a Lakewalker patroller weighed down by past sorrows and present responsibilities—who must come to Fawn’s aid when she is taken captive by a malice. They prevail at a devastating cost—unexpectedly binding their fates together as they embark upon a remarkable journey into danger and delight, prejudice and partnership . . . and perhaps even love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fawn Bluefield leaves her family's farm to find work in Glassforge, but when she encounters a group of Lakewalkers, soldier-sorcerers from the woodland culture to the north, Fawn finds herself pulled into a perilous battle against inhuman and immortal magical entities known as "malices".… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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