by Lois McMaster Bujold Book : Fiction  |  1st ed
Down the River   (2008-05-30)
Bujold, Lois McMaster ~ The Sharing Knife: Passage ~ EOS, 2008 ~ 437 pages ~ For: adults, some teens."Dag was riding up the lane thinking only of the chances of a Bluefield farm lunch, and his likelyhood of needing a nap afterwards, when the arrow hissed past his face."This is the third volume in the "Sharing Knife" series. Fawn Bluefield and "soldier-sorcerer" Dag Redwing Hickory represent two very different cultures. While their marriage has been solid and most successful, the farmers don't want to accept the Lakewalker and the the Lakewalkers don't want to accept the farmer. Too, there's the substantial age difference between the two -- which doesn't seem to bother Fawn at all. If only there was some way for the two groups to learn to live with each other and strengthen each other. More than anything else, that's what Dag wants to do and this volume is about that attempt as much as it is a down the river adventure.While the river trip is to be a honeymoon of sorts, it also is an opportunity for Dag to learn more about himself, his magic, and perhaps a new role for himself. As the trip unfolds, companions are added to the company. First, there's Fawn's younger brother Whit, then the young flatboat captain and her small crew, a sick boy that Dag accidentally beguiles, and two Lakewalker patrolers fleeing an unfortunate incident. Along the way, we see much character development and interaction as well opportunities to better understand how the patroler's magic works. While there are no blights to be eliminated, there is action on the river where a nest of pirates must be eliminated. This is not really an action-oriented story as much as it is about character, development, and how people interact with each other.While Bujold always tells a good story, it is the character development - interactions that stay with you long after the story is finished. The major characters are especially well done, but all of the personal stories have something important to say. The world is thoughtfully and clearly described. The river passages are especially well done. Bujold is a notably accomplished writer and that is seen again and again in her descriptive passages and illuminating dialog.Recommendation: Bujold is such a distinguished and popular author that the series should already be held in any speculative fiction collection. Cover art by Julie Bell shows Dag and Fawn in a landscape setting. Print is clear and easily read with reasonable white space.
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