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Rihannsu: Swordhunt by Diane Duane
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» See also 5 mentions

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I am very glad that I didn't read this book when it first came out. It's not a book, it's the first half of one - ends at Chapter 5, with one battle in the past and a great deal of action and intrigue in the immediate future (Kirk is called to speak to a superior officer on another ship...and the book ends). As the first half of the story that concludes in Honor Blade, it's not bad, but not exciting. I love the first book in this series, and have read it dozens of times; I've read the second nearly as many. This was my first read of this book, and I might come to like it better (reading it with the other half) over time, but as of right now it reads like far too many Trek books - a rather shallow story with a lot of characters, some of them ST canon. Honestly, I'm surprised at Duane (though she's talked about the challenges in her life around this time, and it may be just that - she wasn't concentrating on the book enough). ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Feb 5, 2017 |
Think of the Rihannsu series as something like Lord of the Rings -- one long story broken into multiple parts. My Enemy, My Ally and The Romulan Way, taken together, are the equivalent of The Fellowship of the Ring, although they both work reasonably well as stand-alones.

Swordhunt and Honor Blade, taken together, are the equivalent of The Two Towers. In fact, Swordhunt isn't even a complete story; it's more like watching a TV episode and having the DVD crash at the end of Act II. If I hadn't bought them at the same time, I would have been REALLY UPSET. And Honor Blade, while it does finish that particular story arc, ends on a note very much like, "The battle for Helm's Deep is over. The war for Middle-Earth has just begun." You have to go on and read The Empty Chair, which is the equivalent of The Return of the King, to get the rest of the story.

I love the Rihannsu books, so I'm willing to forgive that. But I strongly recommend that you buy Swordhunt and Honor Blade together, and ideally get The Empty Chair at the same time. Then you can read right through the entire sequence all at once. ( )
  stardreamer | Dec 19, 2007 |
The problem with any tie-in books is the problem known as "canon." This refers to what is "real" in a given fictional universe and what isn't -- so this allows writers (and people in other art forms) to come up with any scenario they want, and it doesn't "count." It never "happened." Unfortunately, this happened to most of Diane Duane's best work -- which centered on Romulans, or Rhiannsu as she calls them. She created a wonderful character, the aunt of the female Romulan commander from whom Kirk and Spock stole a cloaking device in TOS. Not only that, she created a language and a culture for the Romulan people that was totally ignored by the writers of TNG. by reinventing the wheel, they basically wiped out any reason for reading her work -- it's basically fictional fiction, if you will. Am I making sense? No? Welcome to fandom.

This is a potential problem with most other francises, but most other franchises haven't have as extensive a shelf life as Star Trek. Star Wars may come close, but at least that one has a more sensible way of determining what is canon and what is not. To make a long story short, there are levels of canon works, and at the top are the six movies (and, I presume, the TV series). As long as anything in the lower levels of canon is not contradicted by something higher up, you can assume it "happened." The end result is pretty much the same, I suppose -- if George Lucas gets a burr up his butt, he can contradict anything and everything in the novels -- but at least it pretends to respect the other writers.

Me, I happily ignore the official "canon" rules as it suits me. I prefer Diane Duane's Rihannsu to the Romulans that appear in TNG and points thereafter -- especially since they don't have these pseudo-Latinate names for their people and planets. ( )
  lunza | Mar 5, 2006 |
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Diane Duaneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birdsong, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Wilma, T.R., and Sara,
who saw all this begin
in the House of the Dangerously Single Women
...and for Wes, Lee, Gene and Peter,
who left us all much less Single
(though no less Dangerous)
First words
The shadows of Eilhaunn's little yellow sun Ahadi were slanting low, now, over the pale green fields all around the flitter port, as the work crews ran the harvesting machinery up and down the newly cut rows to bind the reeds into the big circular bales that Hwiamna's family favored. (prologue)
Deep in the longest night, in a ship passing through the empty space thirteen light-years from 33 Trianguli, a Rihannsu woman sat in a hard-cushioned chair behind a desk and looked out through a small viewport at the stars, waiting.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671042092, Mass Market Paperback)

The sword was the ultimate symbol of Romulan power, tradition, and pride. It lay in the Senate Chamber of the Romulan Star Empire, revered and untouched for centuries, until the day Dr. Leonard McCoy was tried for treason -- and both were stolen during a daring attack on Romulus itself.

Now, to avenge that insult and save face in the eyes of their deadly enemies, the Empire must recover the sword at any cost. Their envoys to the Federation demand the return of the sword and the extradition of the Romulan renegades who aided the "Starship Enterprise(TM) " in McCoy's escape. If diplomacy fails, the Romulans will trap the Klingons(TM) and the Federation in open war.

In such dangerous times, the "Starship Enterprise" is assigned the most valuable -- and volatile -- element of all: the fugitive Ael, her stolen Bird-of-Prey "Bloodwing," and the sword they carry. Ael will undoubtedly attempt to use ship and sword to foil her enemies and play her hand in the dangerous game that she's begun. But she will do it all under the watchful eyes of James T. Kirk, the Federation starship captain who knows her dangerously well...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:49 -0400)

The sword was the ultimate symbol of Romulan power, tradition, and pride. It lay in the Senate Chamber of the Romulan Star Empire, revered and untouched for centuries, until the day Dr. Leonard McCoy was tried for treason -- and both were stolen during a daring attack on Romulus itself. Now, to avenge that insult and save face in the eyes of their deadly enemies, the Empire must recover the sword at any cost. Their envoys to the Federation demand the return of the sword and the extradition of the Romulan renegades who aided the Starship Enterprise™ in McCoy's escape. If diplomacy fails, the Romulans will trap the Klingons™ and the Federation in open war. In such dangerous times, the Starship Enterprise is assigned the most valuable -- and volatile -- element of all: the fugitive Ael, her stolen Bird-of-Prey Bloodwing, and the sword they carry. Ael will undoubtedly attempt to use ship and sword to foil her enemies and play her hand in the dangerous game that she's begun. But she will do it all under the watchful eyes of James T. Kirk, the Federation starship captain who knows her dangerously well...… (more)

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