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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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21 of 21 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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21 of 21 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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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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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
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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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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4.0 out of 5 stars A promising new series, 18 Dec. 2009
By 
xenofan "xenofan" (Kansas, USA) - See all my reviews
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There's nothing altogether unique about this book, really. The world setting has some nice ideas, the characters are very strong and well developed, and the plot is enjoyable and progresses at a comfortable pace. There's also a very nice romantic element to the story, which I thought was very tastefully handled and not at all overdone.

I haven't given this book five stars, simply because there was nothing particularly "wow" about it. That doesn't mean it wasn't good. Far from it. This book was very good, extremely enjoyable. I started reading Wednesday morning and I was done less than 2 days later! This is quite a rarity for me-typically books of this length will take me 5-10 days to read.

It's an easy to read book, not too overly descriptive. Just enough of everything to be engrossing and entertaining. The characters are genuinely likeable (or not, for those that aren't meant to be liked) and even drew a few smiles and chuckles from me.

Although a fantasy book, at its heart, this is really a romance, and much of the story is spent on the two main characters' developing relationships, and the conflicts that arise as a result of their rather unusual union. The fantasy elements work well with the romance though, and don't feel too much like they've just been tacked on so that the book can claim itself part of the fantasy genre.

Definitely this is a book I would recommend, however! I will warn potential readers that whilst Beguilement is a pleasing read, the second book in the Sharing Knife series, Legacy, was a massive dissapointment for me. Beguilement does end on a sort of cliff-hanger, so if you're going to read this book, you will need to read the less enjoyable Legacy after.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lois Never Lets Me Down, 14 Jan. 2009
By 
J. R. Bedford (Huddersfield UK) - See all my reviews
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All the reviews said: `Good, but not as good as Curse of Chalion,' so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. On the whole I would agree, but to my mind it will be a very exceptional book that is as good as Curse of Chalion, so what to we have here? While not Bujold's absolute best, it's still very good indeed. A fantasy, but also more of a romance in that, apart from a few monsters (inhuman and human), the plot is fairly well kept within a boy-meets-girl scenario, even though neither the `boy' nor the `girl' are exactly typical. Lakewalker patroller Dag rescues and falls for young Fawn Bluefeld, a young woman from a farming family much less than half his age. He has to slay a monster first, but that's his job. Scarier than the monster is Fawn's family because Lakewalkers and farmers don't mix and there's much cultural prejudice and misunderstanding. I have a soft spot for Bujold's damaged heroes and there is a comparison between Dag and Caz (the hero in Chalion) in that Dag has that same integrity, that lack of awareness of his own heroic qualities while at the same time having certain knowledge of his own abilities which inspires the reader's utter confidence in the fact that if he says he'll do something, he'll do it or go down trying. Caz is still my favourite hero, but Dag is up there in the top ten list and that's saying an awful lot. I deliberately didn't buy the second in the series until I'd read the first, but now I wish I had because I've ordered it and can't wait for it to arrive. While I was at it I ordered the third one too.
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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
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This review is from: The Sharing Knife: Beguilement (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: The Sharing Knife: Beguilement (Kindle Edition)
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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The Sharing Knife: Beguilement
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