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Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon
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Oath of Fealty (edition 2011)

by Elizabeth Moon

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4312124,472 (4.01)45
Member:eviltammy
Title:Oath of Fealty
Authors:Elizabeth Moon
Info:Del Rey (2011), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, fantasy, Paksennarion, military

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Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon (Author)

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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 |
I just remembered how much I liked the Paksenarrion series! This should be just as good. Well-written, nicely paced, likeable characters. I especially like how the storylines are kept clear and parallel so that you can actually follow them without getting confused. Paks is just a side note in this series. ( )
  bgknighton | Aug 5, 2013 |
Kieri Phelan, the former Duke and soon to be crowned King of Lyonya, has a new challenge in ruling a human and elven kingdom and convincing his Council that they need to have a protective army for defense. His former captains, Arcolin and Dorrin Verrakai, have challenges of their own as Arcolin takes over the Duke's mercenary company and Dorrin returns to her estranged family's holding as the new Duke Verrakai.

Though Oath of Fealty begins with events soon after the end of Oath of Gold in Paksennarion's trilogy, this book could also be read as a standalone and the beginning of the new series less focused on Paks (though she's still a character) than on Phelan, Arcolin, and Dorrin as well as political events between Tsaia, Lyonya, and Pargun. The seemingly unconnected events involving the Verrakai betrayal and companies of bandits clearly have an underlying link that apparently have some connection to the former pirate, Alured, a much bigger conspiracy than anyone first guessed. I really enjoyed returning to Paks' world, and enjoyed getting to know some of the characters better who had been more minor, especially Dorrin. She's the one good out of a pretty rotten family, and often questions herself and her motives while she tries her best, very believably a mix of doubt and action. I won't wait so long before reading the next book in the series. ( )
  bell7 | Jul 24, 2013 |
A good start to a series. In every viewpoint someone is stepping into a leadership role they hadn't dreamed of [ironic, I was taking a break from leadership-type books.]

postscript from future self: I should reread it and see if there is any evolution in action [because every time I look at the title in my book list I think Niven/Pournelle.] ( )
  sprite | May 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moon, ElizabethAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aidlin, RebeccaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover designersecondary 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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Book description
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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