The Paladin Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 2002
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About the Author
C. J. Cherryh three-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award is one of today's best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers of science fiction and fantasy. The author of more than fifty novels, she makes her home in Spokane, Washington.
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Top Customer Reviews
With his world destroyed and his beliefs shaken the paladin retires to live in obscurity on a distant mountainside with only the bitterness at his betrayal for comfort.
In to this solitude comes a young woman who wants the paladin to teach her his skills so that she might avenge her family who have been killed in a rebellion against the emperors evil chamberlain. Despite his efforts to drive her away the paladin finds himself teaching the girl.
First respect and then love, which neither party is willing to recognise, grows between them and when the time comes for the girl to leave the paladin finds himself drawn back into the world. Unwittingly the paladin becomes the focus of a new rebellion and forces flock to his banner.
As with all Cherryh books the action largely takes a back seat to the characters and the real interest is drawn from the interaction between them. This isn't a book for people who want blow by blow accounts of battles or a sword fight on every page, it is a book for people who want to get to know the characters and get to care for them. That is Cherryh's strong point, she writes characters so well that you do care for them, even when they may at first seem to have very little to recommend them to you.
I give this book five stars, I have re-read it several times and can recommend it to anyone who wants a good, character led read.
What is so refreshing about the Paladin is that the reader is drawn into a pre-industrial society that is, for once, not mediaeval England. Strong characters are the central draw, male and female both, and with the obsessional traits that allow the reader to abandon the reality of 21st Century morality and cynicism.
A great read, a re-read, again and again.
To the best of my knowledge "The Paladin" is her only novel which has no science fiction or fantasy elements: it is also very possibly C. J. Cherryh's best book.
"The Paladin" is set in a pre-industrial society, the location of which is not precisely identified but where the names sound oriental and the description sounds reminiscent of medieval China or Japan.
On a remote mountain just outside the borders of a troubled empire, a former Master Swordsman hides away on a hill, calling himself Shoka and tending his garden. Once he was Master Saukendar who served the previous Emperor, but the present monarch and Regent betrayed him, and he had to flee; legend has it that he killed twenty of the Imperial Guard in self defence on his way to the border.
For many years Shoka has retreated from the world, but then a youth with a scarred face comes to see him, begging the master swordsman for teaching in how to use a sword, with the intention of employing that knowledge to seek vengeance.
Shoka is about to send the suppliant packing when something catches his eye ...
This book is dominated by strong, believable, and very memorable characters: the interaction between them is a major part of the story.
In spite of the fact that it's a different genre, if you enjoyed the "Morgaine" quartet, you will love "The Paladin."
The plot line is quite simple. A young girl comes to beg training in sword fighting from a legendary master who has 'retired' to a mountain hermitage so she can use the acquired skills to exact revenge on a lord who has desecrated her homeland and family. The master, former advisor to the old Emperor, is actually in exile, forbidden on pain of death from ever returning to court, and has settled into a simple life of meditation and taking care of his old war-horse, and not wishing to get involved with anyone, or to return to intrigues of the court. But the girl finally manages to force the master to accept her as an apprentice, and her training begins.
The interaction between these two characters during this portion of the work is excellent, as each displays traits of stubbornness that make for continuous conflict between the two. And the conflict extends beyond the physical training, into the realm of why one should or shouldn't take action against perceived wrongs, what purpose an individual's life has, the value of honesty both to self and others. This is well done, and I felt that I really got to know and admire these two individuals, as each has traits that are worth emulating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
C.J. Cherryh has the unfortunate ability of being able to capture my interest in the first half of her books, and then utterly destroying it in the second. Read morePublished on 8 May 2008 by xenofan