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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new and interesting world and a more romance-driven plot
The Sharing Knife is an exploration of a new fantasy world following on from Lois McMaster Bujold's last three fantasies set in a different world (The Curse Of Chalion, Paladin Of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt). The world of The Sharing Knife is that of 'farmers' who work the land or live in towns in a quasi-mediaeval era, and the 'Lakewalkers' who patrol the country and...
Published on 2 Aug 2006 by Helen Hancox

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but not as good as I'd hoped
Having loved the author's Chalion series, I couldn't wait to read this book. I did enjoy it but couldn't help being a little disappointed by it...

I feel I should start by saying that the fantasy element of the book is interesting but doesn't feature much in it. This is particularly true of the second half which largely consists of domestic family scenes. It...
Published on 5 July 2007 by Castlelioness


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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new and interesting world and a more romance-driven plot, 2 Aug 2006
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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The Sharing Knife is an exploration of a new fantasy world following on from Lois McMaster Bujold's last three fantasies set in a different world (The Curse Of Chalion, Paladin Of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt). The world of The Sharing Knife is that of 'farmers' who work the land or live in towns in a quasi-mediaeval era, and the 'Lakewalkers' who patrol the country and rid it of various nasties (Blight Bogles or Malices, Mud Men and other things). The Lakewalkers do this using special senses (groundsense) that the farmer folk don't have and consequently are rather feared for their 'sorcery'.

The Sharing Knife investigates what happens when these two worlds clash - when a farmer daughter helps a Lakewalker to dispose of a Malice - and the repercussions this has on the protagonists and their families. This book is the first half of a duology and deals with the world of the 'farmers' and our heroine Fawn's attempt to strike out on her own road and escape her stifling family. Dag, the Lakewalker who rescues her from some bandits, is an older and experienced Patroller who has lots in his past which he is trying to ignore. When these two meet they are forced to confront the differences between them in order to move on.

The love story is much more to the fore in this book than Lois McMaster Bujold's previous offerings - the Chalion series or the Miles Vorkosigan space operas. It's a gentle love story where you understand why hero and heroine are drawn to each other - mainly through the differences between them and shared experiences that bind them together. There are some amusing moments with Fawn's family and some scary moments when Fawn is kidnapped, but overall it is a gentle and light story which I enjoyed very much.

If you want to check it out yourself, there's a sample chapter posted at the following website: [...] Give it a go!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but not as good as I'd hoped, 5 July 2007
Having loved the author's Chalion series, I couldn't wait to read this book. I did enjoy it but couldn't help being a little disappointed by it...

I feel I should start by saying that the fantasy element of the book is interesting but doesn't feature much in it. This is particularly true of the second half which largely consists of domestic family scenes. It would almost be more accurate to call this book a romance story with a bit of fantasy in the background than a romantic fantasy book. I found this refreshing as it is good to see an author trying to take the genre in a new direction, away from all the dragon, wizard, war and prophecy orientated stuff that are around now. I found, however, that the romance was just too sickly and soppy for me. I like a strong romantic element to books (I am a typical girl!), but this one takes it too far in my opinion and I just found it all a bit unbelievable and contrived (the bit with Dag talking about water-lilies was just daft and did she have to call the heroine Fawn?!).

The setting is also refreshingly unconventional for a fantasy book. Most seem to be set in a land resembling medieval Europe, but this world is more like rural America a couple of centuries ago. It is well imagined and described with subtlety.

As with the author's last books, this is written with warmth, wisdom and humour - the dialogue in particular is nice. Unlike the other books though, you pretty much have to read the next book after this one as it only tells half of the story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with a bit of a domestic twist., 28 Jun 2007
By 
M. Atkinson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1 (Mass Market Paperback)
I love Lois McMaster Bujold's novels, from the high space opera of the Vorkosigan series, to the thought-provoking, world-building Chalion trilogy. "Beguilement" is set in a new world altogether, semi-post-apocalyptic, with the aocalypse being magical rather than nuclear. In a change of direction for the author, the setting is pretty lowly- a farmgirl and Lakewalker (kind of an organised demon-hunter) are the main protagonists, instead of the usual kings, queens and admirals. The story is everything expected from Bujold, with likeable, flawed characters and a rich, inventive world, told with her typical dry humour and driven by her habit of trying to do the worst possible thing to her characters at the worst possible time.

Buy. Read. Love! Then buy her backlist!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form..., 12 May 2007
By 
Bujold has always had an excellent eye for character, and for me this is the best thing she's written in a while, on a par with the first Chalion book and the better Vorkosigan novels. It's a character-based fantasy tale, with an excellent love story in it, and a lightly-detailed but original world. Fantasy purists might say that it's a bit short on action and epic scope - and they'd be right - but the quality of the writing is high and if approached with an open mind it's a great read. One to warm the heart on a cold evening. Hurrah for Lois ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars joined together, 14 Mar 2008
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1 (Mass Market Paperback)
Latest from veteran science fiction and fantasy writer lois mcmaster bujold, a writer who is always a good read thanks to her skill at creating appealing characters. This is a fantasy story and it appears to be the first volume in a trilogy.

In a remote part of the country in a feudal world a young girl called fawn is running away from her home village. she meets dag, member of a group of sorceror/warriors called lakewalkers, who use swords and magic to deal with evil spirits that create nasty creatures.

Will the two find their destiny?

Will romance blossom between them?

What do you think?

There's nothing wrong with a predictable romance story when the writer is this skilled at creating likeable characters. the prose is very readable and the setting superbly created. you really feel like you're in the countryside with these characters and that evil creatures could be around.

But there's not a lot of plot to this and as a result all that happens whilst being nice character wise isn't the most interesting read. But this is the first volume of a trilogy and the writer has been very good in the past, so because of that I will get volume two. I'm not sure if I would have otherwise
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great four-decker novel, 5 Oct 2011
By 
I'd endorse what reviewer Paul Durrant says above -- if you like *Beguilement* you'll certainly want to read the other three parts -- but while *The Sharing Knife* does divide into two diptyches (Beguilement + Legacy, Passage + Horizon), it's all one novel : a marvellous four-decker that *seems* simple as you go along but adds up to an extremely subtle and intelligent work that explores romance tropes, in the senses of both adventure and love, but is also a telling critique of many elements in fantasy.

Some of that critique lies in the very subtle web of connections Bujold creates between her protagonists and their respective cultures, and in the nature of the central totemic object, the sharing knife of the general title. But there's also a sustained engagement with Tolkien's *The Lord of the Rings*, a book Bujold rates and values highly but has also, over forty years, come to find religiose in the wrong ways, as well as sexist in predictable ways.

Bujold said in an interview given when the last volume was published that she thought *The Sharing Knife* was her "subtlest work yet*, and it is ; it's also perhaps her best, and as intelligent a fantasy as you can find in print today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Romantic Fantasy, 5 May 2011
By 
Paul Durrant (Norwich, Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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First: Be warned, this is really one half of a longer book. The second half is also available, and is called Legacy. If you like this book you will definitely need to buy the second to finish the story. It was originally planned as one book, but paper published limits meant it had to be split into two.

The two books together tell an excellent story very well indeed. Best described as a cross between the Fantasy and Romance genres. It certainly works for Fantasy fans, and I'm told it also works for Romance fans.

There is one difference between the two groups. The Romance fans will probably think that these two books together tell a complete story. The Fantasy fans will want more. Luckily there is more - another pair of books, Passage and Horizon, that will satisfy them. It worked for me.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half a good narrative, 19 Nov 2007
By 
Simon Brooke (Auchencairn, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1 (Mass Market Paperback)
I confess I'm disappointed by Beguilement. And I'm disappointed unfairly. This isn't a bad book; if it were the first book I read by Bujold I would have thought it good. But for me, against the Chalion sequence this does not measure up. Why not?

This is a novel set against an inventive landscape. It plays with a number of fantasy memes, but original use is made of each of them. The two distinct cultures of the protagonists are fully realised and well drawn, and - barring some questions I have about economic stability over long time periods - believable. All of the characters are well drawn and most are engaging.

Minor details niggle. A farm girl in a semi-literate, pre-industrial agrarian community is an unmarried virgin until she's eighteen - presumably because timid American publishers dare not suggest that people in such societies may have sex younger. A community which has lived for tens of generations within three days easy ride of another, without barriers of war, language, ideology, geography or anything else, nevertheless know virtually nothing of the other's culture. And these cultures have been roughly stable over that period, without interruption of war, pestilence or famine.

On the plus side, this is a world in which real people live. Very believable people. And unlike the vast majority of fantasy fiction, this book is prepared to face human sexuality (and a good number of other human drives) face on.

So why am I disappointed?

This is half a book. I have not yet read the sequel. Although Bujold wrote three books in the Chalion sequence, each stands alone; they are not episodes in a continuous narrative. This is. One episode, which leaves us with every thread dangling unknotted. Again, I don't know whose decision it was to publish this volume and its successor separately, but - unless the successor is a dreadful book, which from this author is unlikely - I'm fairly confident it was a mistake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Post-apocalyptic fantasy saga, 10 Mar 2013
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Tiff (Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Lois McMaster Bujold triumphs again, in this imaginative and well realised post cataclysmic world. This is almost more of a speculative fiction book than fantasy, but skirts the edges a little. The other reviews here give a good overview of the stories, so I'll not repeat everything - but they're well worth a read. Put these in your face now!
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3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the Miles Vorsogigan series, 8 Mar 2013
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In Miles Vorkosigan, Lois McMaster Bujold created a once-in-a-career character, a Harry Potter for grown-ups [or not-quite grown ups, like me:-) ]

I found the Beguilement books too romantic, rather long-winded, and lacking in the edge of humour I loved in the Miles books.
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Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1
Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1 by Lois McMaster Bujold (Mass Market Paperback - 20 July 2007)
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