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on 26 June 2007
I am a real fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's work - she was initially known for her Miles Vorkosigan series of nearly 20 books but I actually preferred her foray into fantasy, "The Curse Of Chalion" and "Paladin Of Souls" particularly. "The Sharing Knife" duology (the first book called "Beguilement" and then this one, "Legacy") is set in a different time and world than that of the Chalion/Hallowed Hunt books - this world is more like an agrarian early America.

My first comment is that if you haven't read "The Sharing Knife: Beguilement" yet then you need to buy that book before you even consider this one. These two books are a duology but, unlike pretty much all Bujold's other books, I felt this one would have been rather a struggle if read on its own. So if you haven't read "Beguilement" then get it first and don't read on as this review of "Legacy" has spoilers for the first book.

**SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1***

This book starts off where "Beguilement" left off - Dag and Fawn are married and are making their way to Dag's home. We have gone through the difficulties Fawn faced with her family's dubious acceptance of her new husband - now we get the same from Dag's people's point of view. Only worse.

A lot of this book seems to be about cross-cultural clashes. The Lakewalkers and Farmers are different groups of people and it seems that neither can accept the other. Dag's marriage with Fawn has actually broken some Lakewalker rules and despite him being a semi-hero it seems his friends and relatives don't cut him a lot of slack.

The first half of the book is about Fawn and Dag trying to settle down in Lakewalker territory - and struggling. They also try to find out more about the primed Sharing Knife that Fawn now has - it seems this is something a little outside Lakewaker experience. Then they hear of another Malice/Blight Bogle attack and Dag has to go on patrol, Fawn being left behind to fend for herself amongst unfriendly people.

There's a lot in this book about the "grounds", the Lakewalker magic which Fawn cannot see. There's also more about the Malice and how it takes over people and ground as well as some interesting vignettes into Lakewalker life. I enjoyed the book but I didn't always know quite what was going on with some of the more esoteric "ground" discussions.

Lois Bujold's writing style is as appealing as ever. As usual her characters carry on quite a lot of inner monologues so you get to understand how different people interpret the same events. I still have some residual doubts about the wisdom of a 55 year old man marrying an 18 year old woman but, after all, this is fiction. Poor Fawn has to deal with not only being nearly 40 years younger than her husband but also being rather inept in the Lakewalker territory, being a farmer girl. Her skills, and she does have some, aren't really appreciated except by Dag and she puts up with an amazing amount of insults.

I enjoyed "Legacy" - it was a fun read, had some nice moments of romance as well as a message about tolerance between different groups - but I didn't feel it was quite up to the standard of "The Curse Of Chalion". It still deserves 5 stars though!

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book, [...] © Helen Hancox 2007
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on 19 January 2009
The continuing adventures of Lakewalker, Dag Redwing Hickory and his `farmer' wife Fawn Bluefeld, following on directly from the events in `Beguilement' which ended with Dag and Fawn's wedding at the Bluefeld farm, having more or less overcome her family's objections. Now they're off to face Dag's family which is going to be a much more difficult sell because the Lakewalkers think they're a cut above, magically, that is, and that the rest of the world - farmers whether they farm or not - are a bunch of ignorant ingrates.

Lakewalkers can sense `grounds,' that's life-energy to you and me, and they are dedicated to killing `malices' - power-hungry entities that pop up out of the ground, and blight everything around - including people. Only Lakewalker magic can kill a malice, they're immortal and immune to everything but specially prepared bone knives imbued with mortality. Nothing is more important to Lakewalkers than this duty and their whole way of life is dedicated to supporting their patrollers. It's a tight knit little community that Fawn walks into - hoping she can impress Dag's harridan mother. She doesn't and neither does Dag who, it seems, is the son who can't do anything right. Dag's brother Dar is as much of a problem as his mother. Luckily there are one or two patrollers that Fawn met in `Beguilement' who, while not openly accepting of their marriage, are not hostile to Fawn and so the couple settle down to married life with the threat of a council meeting hanging over their head to proclaim on the validity of the marriage.

Dag shows his mettle, grows in talents and in saving others manages to get himself into malice trouble again and only with Fawn's help does he get out of it, but despite proving herself over and over again, she'd never going to be able to make Yorkshire Puddings like Mother makes. Dag solves the problem in his own way which lead them nicely forward to the much anticipated third book in the series, `Passage.'

Everything I said about the first book in The Sharing Knife sequence stands repeating here. Well-written, well-rounded characters and if the plot is less than action-packed, the dramatic tension remains high. Dag is almost as good a hero as Caz in 'Curse of Chalion' - and that's high praise indeed. We learn more about Dag, his first marriage, and some of the reasons why he never followed through and became a captain, despite that being his obvious destiny in his younger days and one of his obvious talents. The fact that he cares so much about others is one of the appealing things about him. Dag doesn't - in any way - consider himself above farmers. Dag and Fawn are an engaging couple deliberately mismatched for extra interest and cultural misunderstandings.

If you're looking for the kind of pace Miles Vorkosigan keeps up, you may need to look elsewhere, but this series is on a par with Bujold's Chalion novels for character and interest. Her writing never disappoints, whatever the style.
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on 14 July 2009
Volume 2 of the Sharing Knife series, featuring stolid farmers interacting uneasily with nomadic "Patrollers" who battle 'malices', creatures that seem to arise spontaneously and consume the essence ('ground') of living creatures and bend them to their will. The heroine is a spirited farmer's daughter who marries an older patroller, to general disapproval. In volume 1, they meet, marry and fight off farmer prejudice; this time, it's patroller prejudice they have to deal with.

Many familiar Bujold themes - the quiet lead characters who amaze themselves and all around them with hidden talents, the explicit treatment of physical things from sex to disabilities, the unhurried but involving plotline. It's a more feminine book than the Miles series, mainly seen from the heroine's viewpoint and basically very romantic. The 'ground' theme is extensively developed and I'd advise reading volume 1 first or you'll struggle to follow. A little leisurely at times but the characters are generally sympathetically-drawn, making it an agreeable read.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
Legacy is book two in the Sharing Knife series, by Lois McMaster Bujold. It continues the story of Dag and Fawn, picking up pretty much where they left off at the end of Beguilement (book one).

I enjoyed Beguilement, but I have to say that I didn't like Legacy nearly as much. I thought the dispute with Dag's family was drawn out for far too long, and it wasn't all that interesting. I got to read a lot about Fawn and Dag cooking plumkins and visiting the Lakewalker camp and its people, which is not how I expected to spend much of the second book. Whilst it was nice at first to learn a bit more about the Lakewalker ways, it was just overdone and I was dissapointed with the authors reliance on having the characters explain absuloubtly everything through dialogue. I didn't even find the Lakewalkers all that interesting to begin with-they weren't very original-and this didn't help.

It isn't until about chapter 10 (possibly later) that the main threat of the book is actually introduced. I enjoyed Legacy a little more once the story moved away (for the most part) from the Lakewalker camp. Sadly, it was over all too quickly, and I found the last 5 or so chapters about as difficult to get through as the first 10. (In a book of 19 chapters, this doesn't leave much actual space for the main conflict) Although there are some nice worldbuilding ideas, the story on a whole is only just "okay". There's little original about it, and whereas book one seemed to balance this problem by having strong characters and an excellent mix of romance and action/conflict, book two somehow falls short. In fact, there were times when I just couldn't stand Dag OR Fawn.

I'd had high hopes for the Sharing Knife series after reading the first book, but after being so dissapointed by Legacy, I will not be continuing with it. This is a shame, as Lois McMaster Bujold is capable of writing great fantasy - try her Curse of Chalion, if you want to see her at her best. Avoid Legacy though, it wasn't that great.
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on 16 October 2007
I always approach books from Bujold with anticipation. She usually tells a ripping yarn filled with bold, if eccentric, characters that come alive for me. I dove into this book with abandon, expecting the same experience. I thought the first book of the series was merely OK, but I thought "ah well, perhaps it is a scene setter" and eagerly bought this one. But I was disappointed. It is not a bad story line, and the characters are OK - but with Bujold that just isn't enough for me. The story line has none of the oomph I was expecting, and the characters, while likeable enough, are ever so slightly cardboardy and taste of saccharin. I sort of enjoyed the story - but it doesn't bear any comparison to, for example, the Chalion series, and Dag is definitely not Caz! It was a pleasant enough read - but it took me three goes to finish it rather than the all night marathon I usually have with a Bujold book. I will wait for the paperback of the next one, perhaps in the remainder bin, rather than pre-ordering the hardback.
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2007
I am sure very few people will be coming to this book as their first encounter with this author, and many of the things that readers generally find appealing in her work are here - her good characterisations and very comprehensively realized fantasy milieu are present and correct.

And she has demonstrated in previous books that she can pen a good romance, and unresolved romantic or sexual tension has formed a prominent thread in previous books, including the first in this series.
But herein lies the basic problem - she resolved the romance issue in the last book - hero and heroine successfully got together,and indeed got married. To paraphrase Tolstoy ( at least I think that's who it was) 'happiness writes in white ; it does not show up on the page', i.e. it is hard to construct a compelling plot around a happy couple. She does try, and there IS some plot, both relating to the hitherto only briefly sketched culture of the Lakewalkers, and the Blight Bogles (which make me think - nanotech of some sort?) but not really enough of it. Compared to the Miles Vorkosigan or Chalion series, things move rather too slowly and are lacking in sufficient complexity to really keep you turning the pages. I just hope she doesn't do a Laurell K Hamilton and start spinning out the plot over book after book to pay the rent. All in all it's workmanlike enough, but I am not sure who it is meant to appeal to; I can't see it holding the attention of most male readers, it's too touchy feely and doesn't have enough action. And as romantic fiction it probably isn't quite syrupy or formulaic enough, and lacking complexity in the central romance. Hmm....OK but not brilliant
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second in a series of fantasy novels, which are set in a rustic society in a large area of wetlands menaced by malices. these are creations of dark magic. They are fought by lakewalkers, who are a large group of sorceror/warriors. They live rather separate lives from the farmers of the area. so when veteran lakewalker dag and young farmgirl fawn find they're soulmates and get married, they have to fight for acceptance.

The initial encounter and marriage was dealt with in the first book Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1 and whilst you could get into this volume without having read that, since it does bring new readers up to speed, it's probably better to start with that one.

I found the first volume good but not as good as I'd hoped because the plot was all domestics of the main relationship and not much else. But whilst there's still precious little action in this one it was somehow a much more compelling read. Dag and fawn come back to dag's people and the lifestyle of the lakewalkers is interestingly detailed in very good and readablr prose, which makes this a real page turner.

dag does eventually have to head out to fight the malice which leads to a bit more drama, but nonetheless the actions in the camp and the ultimate way in which their battle for acceptance comes to a head is still rather compelling.

the book is pretty much self contained and frankly the end could be the end of the story but it does leave the door open for further volumes.

Not the best story lois mcmaster bujold has ever done plot wise but quite a pleasant read, and I shall give the third volume a go in due course
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on 16 August 2007
Overall a good read, but a bit lacking in both action and wit in comparison with the Chalion and Miles sagas.

The plot is mostly about Dag and Fawn dealing with the lakewalkers dim views of their marriage, as it goes against all tradition and "sense".
Dawn tries to find a place in lakewalker society, but it all seems to be cut a bit short, and lacking in depth and substance.
I got no real sense of getting anywhere, and it felt very like a typical book 2 of a trilogy, setting up the stage for the final part.

Bujold still writes good books, but this is not one I will read again and again, as have been the case for most of her earlier works.
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