Oath of Fealthy by Elizabeth Moon (Paladin’s Legacy 1)

Opposite many others I came to Elizabeth Moon’s [profile] writings trough  her Science Fiction, then to her fantasy works. Me and my friends love her books. This is the first book in her new fantasy series Paladin’s Legacy that continues the story after her acclaimed and popular the Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy. Elizabeth has a knack for writing really lovable characters and this return to Paks’ world is no exception.

Elizabeth Moon’s bestselling science fiction novels featuring Kylara Vatta have earned her rave reviews and comparison to such giants as Robert Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold. But as Moon’s devoted fans know, she started her career as a fantasy writer. The superb trilogy known as The Deed of Paksenarrion is widely judged to be one of the great post-Tolkien fantasies, a masterpiece of sustained world-building and realistic military action. Now Moon returns to this thrilling realm for the first time in nearly twenty years. The result: another classic in the making.

Thanks to Paks’s courage and sacrifice, the long-vanished heir to the half-elven kingdom of Lyonya has been revealed as Kieri Phelan, a formidable mercenary captain who earned a title—and enemies—in the neighboring kingdom of Tsaia. Now, as Kieri ascends a throne he never sought, he must come to terms with his own half-elven heritage while protecting his new kingdom from his old enemies—and those he has not yet discovered.

Meanwhile, in Tsaia, Prince Mikeli prepares for his own coronation. But when an assassination attempt nearly succeeds, Mikeli suddenly faces the threat of a coup. Acting swiftly, Mikeli strikes at the powerful family behind the attack: the Verrakaien, magelords possessing ancient sorcery, steeped in death and evil. Mikeli’s survival—and that of Tsaia—depend on the only Verrakai whose magery is not tainted with innocent blood.

Two kings stand at a pivotal point in the history of their worlds. For dark forces are gathering against them, knit in a secret conspiracy more sinister—and far more ancient—than they can imagine. And even Paks may find her gods-given magic and peerless fighting skills stretched to the limit—and beyond.

It was with great anticipation I opened the package from amazon and beheld this shiny new book from Orbit. It even arrived the correct day, good job Royal Mail. I started reading almost immateriality. The Dramatis Personae was quite extensive followed by little more facts about the main cast.

  • Kieri Phelan – the lost heir of to the kingdom of Lyonya former mercenary commander and duke.
  • Jandalir Arcolin – Kieri’s second in command now has to pick up the duke’s reins.
  • Dorrin Verrakai – outlawed by her magic wielding family now a captain in the company
  • Mikeli Vostan Kirieli – crown prince of Tsaia about to be crowned king
  • Paksenarrion (Paks) – Paladin of Gird, former mercenary in the Dike’s company

This is mostly the story of Dorrin and Jandalir who both has to shoulder responsibilities and roles they never expected. They have to overcome numerous obstacles and they both grow immensely. Dorrin has to face both her family and her own magical abilities. While Jandalir has to take charge of the Mercenary Company, become a Duke and protect some villages against bandits.

Kieri and Mikeli are both new rulers that face similar problems but from a different starting point, both countries are threatened in some way or another, there isn’t so much resolution on their part as on Dorrin and Jandalir’s part but that feels right for a trilogy. We have something to look forward to in book two and three.

Paks is in the story but as a minor character.

Elizabeth usually have some crafty old ladies in her stories, at least in her SF, here there is a formidable enemy ambassador to Phelans crowning cermony.

Elizabeth Moon is a fantastic story teller with vivid hearty characters you can’t help falling in love with, which she proves again with Oath of Fealty a mature, competent and fulfilling read. Oath of Fealty is a great start of a series that also works as a standalone book. You can read it without first reading Deeds of Paks but you will get greater satisfaction from it if you do.