- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Baen Books; Original edition (7 July 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439132976
- ISBN-13: 978-1439132975
- Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.7 x 4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,645,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Seeker's Bane Paperback – 7 Jul 2009
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About the Author
Pat Hodgell can't remember a time when she wasn't passionately interested in science fiction and fantasy. She's sold stories to such anthologies as "Berkley Showcase," "Elsewhere III," and "Imaginary Lands" and has also published four novels. "God" "Stalk" and "Dark of the Moon," the novels included in "The God Stalker "Chronicles, begin her critically praised fantasy saga which is concerned not! only with high adventure, but also with questions of personal identity, religion, politics, honor, and arboreal drift. She earned her doctorate at the University of Minnesota with a dissertation on Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe," and is a graduate of both the Clarion and the Milford Writers Workshops. Recently retired, she was a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in modern British literature and composition, and teaches an distant training course on science fiction and fantasy for the University of Minnesota. Pat lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in a nineteenth-century wood-framed house, which has been in her family for generations. In addition to writing and teaching, she attends science fiction conventions, collects yarn, knits, embroiders, raises cats, makes her own Christmas cards and blogs at www.pchodgell.com. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
P C Hodgell writes some of the most intricate, original and fascinating fantasy around, but you really need to have read the first two books in the series before tackling this volume.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ignore Baen's covers, which fully live down to the usual standards of hideousness from that publisher. The books are very worth reading, just get some brown paper. I am very much looking forward to "Bound In Blood". It's a pity Baen isn't reissuing Hodgell in hardback, but at least they're back in print. She's been a connoisseur's taste for decades, it would be nice if she got some popular acclaim too.
Seeker's Mask (the first half of this collection) was difficult for me at first. Jame is mistreated, misunderstood, and very unhappy trying to "fit it". It was painful to read this. But finally Jame decides, enough, she will be herself, and the book moves into high gear as Jame escapes and weird things start happening to the River Valley as she travels. This book brings back old friends left behind in God Stalk and introduces the reader to powerful nature gods that belong to the world as opposed to the Kencyr who are the aliens.
"To Ride a Rathorn" follows a similar pattern. Jame tries to fit in at a cadet school and is poorly treated. She refuses to give up and grows in confidence in her abilities. As expected things come to a boil, dark secrets are revealed, and healing comes out of destruction.
Please encourge PC Hodgell to continue writing this series by buying this collection!
(The series is far from complete. The 5th novel, Bound in Blood, should be published in 2010, with more to come.)
The Kencyrath series combines superb plotting, characterization and world-building. It also stands out by being a wholly original creation, drawing directly from folklore and mythology instead of from other fantasy stories, not even from Tolkien. Moreover, Hodgell skillfully adds a strong element of mystery to perplex her characters (and her readers!).
These two books focus on Jame, a young woman who creates trouble and scandal everywhere she goes (there's a reason for that) but could create an even bigger ruckus just be telling people her full name. Dealing with the people she encounters in normal life would be hard enough by itself, but she also has to deal with deadly enemies from her family's past. And arboreal drift.
Seeker's Mask (1994) is the third fantasy novel in this series. Tori sends Jame to the Highlord's Keep in Guthregor. The Matriarchs, however, take her away from his steward and install her within the Women's Halls. They put her into the hands of Kallystine -- Tori's temporary consort -- but the relationship is rather strained.
Since Tori had sent her without proper clothing, Jame is clothed from the wardrobe of the dead Aerulan. They also place her in the class for little girls to learn how to act and think like a Highborn Lady.
Jame is not happy as a Highborn Lady trainee. She particularly hates the mask that she is required to wear. She also doesn't believe that the basic tenets of a Highborn Lady are obedience, self-restraint, endurance, and silence. Or maybe she just cannot live such a life.
Then Jame sews her gloves together again. She swears and the teacher inquires as to her distress. In the ensuing discussion, Jame states the nature of Honor's Paradox and the instructress slaps her. Jame restrains herself and only slashes the sampler held before her.
Jame leaves the classroom and again trips on the staircase. Her dress is much too tight for long strides or even normal steps. Naturally, Jame reaches the bottom of the stairs without breaking anything, but she will have more bruises.
Jame hides out in the Ghost Walks. She greets Aerulan's death banner and, for the first time, notices that she has been wearing Aerulan's clothing. When Caineron guards come seeking her, she climbs up to the Highlord's study.
Then a casting of Bashtiri assassins comes to Guthregor. The twelve apprentices are there to be blooded. But the master assassin is after Jame.
When the Caineron finally catch her, Kallystine slaps her face with a razor ring, laying open her skin to the bone. Jame fights against her captors and her beserker rage. Finally, she sounds out a master rune and leaves while everyone else is reeling.
The Matriarch Council sends to the Priest's College for a healer -- Kindrie -- to repair the wound on Jame's face, but Jame hates priests. Brenwyr also lays a curse on her. Jame decides to depart Guthregor.
Jame has another reason to leave. Graykin is being tortured by his father. She travels to Restormir to rescue him.
To Ride A Rathorn (2006) is the fourth fantasy novel in this series. Tori learns that even the Highlord has no rights to punish injuries or deaths within Tentir. If anything happens to Jame, he can do nothing to avenge the harm.
Rue arrives at Tentir to announce the imminent arrival of the Highlord. The college walls are down at several places and guards are not posted. Apparently the earthquakes and high winds have done considerable damage to the structures.
Rue finds a Coman cadet watching a punishment run. The sargeants are running most of the cadets around the arcade. As she is learning the situation, Lord Ardeth rides in the front doorway of the Hall.
With him are the Highlord and his retinue. They are escorting Jame to the school as a cadet candidate. Rue sends the Coman cadet to announce the Highlord's presence to the Commandant.
The Commandant welcomes Jame to the college and sends her to the Knorth quarters. After finally finding the proper corridor, Rue shows Jame the Knorth Lordan suite, but Jame decides to stay elsewhere. She finds a comfortable spot in the attic near the hole in the roof where she can get fresh air and a bit of rain.
The Commandant starts to punish the ten cadets who escorted Jame in the prior adventure, but Jame has a word with him. Then he designates her as the ten of that squad, bumping Briar down to a five leader. Since Jame is the Knorth Lordan, she is also the master ten of the Knorth barracks. She is not really certain what her duties and privileges are in that role.
Then Jame is called by Bel-Tairi and talks to the Whinno-hir briefly. Later she locates the mare as well as the rathorn colt whose mother had been given grace by Jame. The two are traveling together.
Jame introduces Bel-Tairi to the horse-master and he fixes her untended mane, tail, hooves and teeth. He also treats her damaged knee. Then Jame grooms her again.
Jame is intrigued by the story of Bel-Tairi. She finds out pieces here and there, but learns more in her dreams than from the staff and cadets. Her dreams and conversations also provide more information about her father and his older brother.
Jame finds herself in perilous circumstances. Somebody slips a very poisonous snake onto her as she is sleeping, but Jame likes snakes and the two drop off to sleep together. Then the Randir cadets capture Jame and toss her into Bear's locked quarters, but Bear admires her claws. Then someone sabotages the high rope before her ten are scheduled to walk it, but Jame walks the rope and grabs Rue before it breaks.
These stories are packed with threats to Jame's life and position. Every action that she makes is analyzed and criticized by both her friends and enemies. Yet she not only overcomes her foes, but converts many into her friends.
The stories have a compelling urgency that enchants the reader. They also have a subtle humor that may well become addictive. The next volume of this series has been completed and sent to the publishers. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Hodgell fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of weird magic, decadent societies, and a possible avatar of a god of destruction. Anyone who has not yet read this series should start with God Stalk.
-Arthur W. Jordin
Can't wait for the next book in the series! :)