Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. But en route to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, nomadic soldier-sorcerers from the northern woodlands. Feared necromancers armed with mysterious knives made of human bone, they wage a secret, ongoing war against the scourge of the "malices," immortal entities that draw the life out of their victims, enslaving human and animal alike.
It is Dag--a Lakewalker patroller weighed down by past sorrows and onerous present responsibilities--who must come to Fawn's aid when she is taken captive by a malice. They prevail at a devastating cost--unexpectedly binding their fates as they embark upon a remarkable journey into danger and delight, prejudice and partnership . . . and perhaps even love.
Compelling characters lift this first of a two-book romantic fantasy from Hugo-winner Bujold (The Hallowed Heart), set in a dangerous land without a name, though individual towns, villages and hamlets are specified. Dag, a Lakewalker patroller with a dry wit, is dedicated to destroying the evil "malices" that blight the countryside. Fawn, a runaway farm girl, helps him kill a malice and its zombie-like mud-men, but not before the malice destroys her unborn child by taking its "ground" or life force. Fawn slays the malice with Dag's sharing knife, a bone blade created to carry the spirit of a dying patroller, but Dag's formerly empty knife now carries the baby's ground. Dag and Fawn fall in love while he helps her recover from her miscarriage. Bujold hints at an epic past of mighty kingdoms and ancient sorceries--a past that will hopefully be fully detailed in the sequel. (Oct.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 24, 2007
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