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Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon

Oath of Fealty

by Elizabeth Moon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Paksenarrion's World (6), Paladin's Legacy (1)

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After some fairly clunky writing in the beginning, to bring readers of the earlier series up to speed, Moon gets to her story and the explanations fall into place. This is an outstanding novel (coming from someone who did not read the original series) that deals with Change. And not change as in "change is inevitable" but Change as in "My life as I thought it was going to be has now become something I didn't expect, and what do I do with this Change?" The characters are very, very well-built and dealing with real issues. The maps definitely need work (although from the author's page that's because she's busy writing), but the believability is great, the world-building is good and brief and just what it needs to be, and overall this is a terrific book. I've already started the second one. ( )
  threadnsong | Jul 4, 2016 |
Somewhere, in the boxes upstairs, I have the books of the Deed of Paksennarion, which directly precedes the story related in 'Oath of Fealty' and 'Kings of the North'. (I'm going to talk about 'Oath' and 'Kings' together, since they're not particularly separate entities.)
Moon's introduction specifies that she considers these to be independent of the previous trilogy, and that a reader can start here.
However, I did wish I'd read the earlier books first. They apparently contain many of the same characters, and I really felt I'd have gotten into the story and felt connected with the characters a lot faster if I'd already known their background.
That said, these are very well-done books. They take place in a familiar European-based fantasy world, but the scenarios and characters are realistic, believable and well-drawn. Moon is well-known as a writer of military fiction from a woman's perspective, and that's what we get here. It's not all women, but my favorite character was probably Dorrin - a somewhat-older, capable veteran who happens to be a woman.
The hierarchical social system accepted in this world isn't one I'd particularly want to live in, but the story isn't about ideal worlds; it's about people trying to do their best in the world they've got.
My one issue with it was probably the absolutes of good and evil - one of the major plot points is that an entire family is Pure Evil and must be eradicated. Probably to balance this, there was a sub-plot about one culture thinking that another is evil due to cultural misunderstandings, but I would have liked to at least have seen the perspective of someone within the family of Evil Sorcerers.
It's also not a particularly tightly plotted or suspenseful story - it's more about enjoying the twists and turns of the complex politics and personal maneuvering of the characters. Like real life, more things keep happening... and I liked following them. ( )
1 vote AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Yes, but Kindle.
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Elizabeth Moon’s bestselling science fiction novels featuring Kylara Vatta have earned her rave reviews and comparison to such giants as Robert Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold. But as Moon’s devoted fans know, she started her career as a fantasy writer. The superb trilogy known as The Deed of Paksenarrion is widely judged to be one of the great post-Tolkien fantasies, a masterpiece of sustained world-building and realistic military action. Now Moon returns to this thrilling realm for the first time in nearly twenty years. The result: another classic in the making.

Thanks to Paks’s courage and sacrifice, the long-vanished heir to the half-elven kingdom of Lyonya has been revealed as Kieri Phelan, a formidable mercenary captain who earned a title - and enemies - in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia. Now, as Kieri ascends a throne he never sought, he must come to terms with his own half-elven heritage while protecting his new kingdom from his old enemies - and those he has not yet discovered.

Meanwhile, in Tsaia, Prince Mikeli prepares for his own coronation. But when an assassination attempt nearly succeeds, Mikeli suddenly faces the threat of a coup. Acting swiftly, Mikeli strikes at the powerful family behind the attack: the Verrakaien, magelords possessing ancient sorcery, steeped in death and evil. Mikeli’s survival - and that of Tsaia - depend on the only Verrakai whose magery is not tainted with innocent blood.

Two kings stand at a pivotal point in the history of their worlds. For dark forces are gathering against them, knit in a secret conspiracy more sinister - and far more ancient - than they can imagine. And even Paks may find her gods-given magic and peerless fighting skills stretched to the limit - and beyond.

After a twenty-odd-year pause, acclaimed author Elizabeth Moon has returned to the Paksenarrion universe, which she first introduced in the Sheepfarmer's Daughter. This time however, the focus is not on the bard-worthy exploits of Paks, but rather on the stories of the recently discovered king of Lyonya, the new Duke of Verrakai, the new Lord of North Marches, and the crown prince of Tsaia. Many new and interesting characters are introduced, along with the return of old friends, including cameos from Paks.

This story is a bit different than Paks, as it follows several principal characters, and therefore is more clearly split into segments. There are whole sections covering former Duke Kieri Phelan's preparations and ultimate coronation as the new king of Lyonya, including his personal and political challenges, not to mention all the young women paraded past him as potential wives. Given the amount of disarray the country fell into when the prior king died without an heir there is no subtlety in the process, much to Kieri's dismay.

Captain Dorrin's sudden elevation from mercenary captain under Duke Phelan's command to Duke Verrakai is both a shock and personal challenge of tremendous proportions. Dorrin has numerous good reasons for wanting to turn down the prince's request, yet she is unable to deny her prince, nor the repressed people of Verrakai, especially as she is truly the only person she knows of with the ability stand against her evil family.

Captain Arcolin, freshly named Lord of the North Marches, has inherited everything that the newly crowned King of Lyonya built over the years. He questions himself and his ability to fill the shoes of the man the went before him, a man that the entire Company respected beyond measure.

Nor is the crown prince of Tsaia, Mikeli Mahieran, exempt from the intrigue and excitement reignited in this new series. Just as those listed above, he too is tested, challenged, and slowly tempered like a blade in the forge. There are puzzles to be solved, and traps negotiated, if he is to survive the long laid plans that are coming to light. Though raised to know his duty, he too questions his fitness for his role, particularly after a specific incident.

So each of these stories has begun, picking up the tale right where it left off at the end of the Oath of Gold. Public and private challenges are faced, entwined relationships explored, and individual stories braided together, creating a smooth arc for one richly complex storyline. In doing so, Ms. Moon has deftly set into motion the beginnings of what looks to be yet another stellar epic fantasy. ( )
  Isisunit | Apr 28, 2014 |
Well written tale, but as often is the case with magic, the system seems too simple and everything is determined by the "strongest" magician which is always a problem for the story. ( )
  Guide2 | Feb 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Moonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aidlin, RebeccaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
VanDyck, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For those there from the start and still here for the new beginning: Ellen and John McLean and Richard Moon, for encouraging me to finish the first Paks book, Joshua Bilmes for accepting me as a Client, the late Jim Baen for publishing The Deed of Paksenarrion, and Betsy Mitchell for editing it.
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A small boy clambered from a cellar wall into an alley.
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A death has made Kieri Phelan king of Lyonya. Here humans and elves live in uneasy peace, united only by their failure to see the dangers at their borders. Harmony has never been more important - or elusive. But will Kieri's soldier background allow him to navigate these difficult politics? And can he awaken the powers his mixed blood confers? An older evil also threatens, affecting not just Lyonya but all surrounding kingships. The Verrakai family has been practicing forbidden blood magic for generations, and its scions are becoming bold. When they infiltrate a foreign court and assassinate key nobles, it's clear they must be controlled or eradicated. Phelan will send Dorrin, the only Verrakai he can truly trust, on this mission. She must overcome her abhorrence of the power that is her birthright and awaken her own hidden magic. This will lead to secrets and a mystery that neither Phelan nor Dorrin could have anticipated.
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As Kieri Phelan ascends a throne he never sought, he must come to terms with his own half-elven heritage while protecting his new kingdom from his old enemies. Meanwhile, in Tsaia, Prince Mikeli escapes an assassination attempt made by the Verrakaien magelords. As dark forces gather against the two kings and their worlds, even Paks may find her gods-given magic and peerless fighting skills stretched to the limit--and beyond.… (more)

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