Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son, destined from birth to carry a sword. The wealthy young noble will follow his father--newly made a lord by the King of Gernia-into the cavalry, training in the military arts at the elite King's Cavella Academy in the capital city of Old Thares. Bright and well-educated, an excellent horseman with an advantageous engagement, Nevare's future appears golden.
But as his Academy instruction progresses, Nevare begins to realize that the road before him is far from straight. The old aristocracy looks down on him as the son of a "new noble" and, unprepared for the political and social maneuvering of the deeply competitive school and city, the young man finds himself entangled in a web of injustice, discrimination, and foul play. In addition, he is disquieted by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny-who challenges his heretofore unwavering world view-and by the bizarre dreams that haunt his nights.
Accompanying his newly made noble father to the new lands acquired by the nation of Gernia, young Nevare Burvelle aspires to bring the benefits of civilization to the primitive inhabitants. When he attends the King's Cavalry Academy after coming of age, Nevare finds that many students there consider him and others of the "new nobility" little more than backwoods yokels. To make matters worse, he finds the subtle magic of the plains tribes insinuating itself into his belief system, leading him to question his loyalty to Gernia. Displaying Hobb's gift for creating unusual and compelling worlds ("the Tawny Man" trilogy), this latest series opener maintains her high standard of storytelling and belongs in most fantasy collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Good read
Posted April 03, 2010 by MVDL , Portland, ORI enjoyed this book very much. The detail that Robin Hobb puts into the characters and their world is incredible. It was a little slower then I would of liked but it still kept me hooked. Looking forward to the second one.
September 06, 2005
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Excerpt from Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb
Magic and Iron
I remember well the first time I saw the magic of the Plainspeople.
I was eight and my father had taken me with him on a trip to the outpost on Franner's Bend. We had arisen before the dawn for the long ride; the sun was just short of standing at noon when we finally saw the flag waving over the walls of the outpost by the river. Once Franner's Bend had been a military fort on the contested border between the Plainspeople and the expanding kingdom of Gernia. Now it was well within the Gernian border, but some of its old martial glory persisted. Two great cannons guarded the gates, but the trade stalls set up against the mud-plastered stockade walls behind them dimmed their ferocity. The trail we had followed from Widevale now joined a road that picked its way among the remains of mud-brick foundations. Their roofs and walls were long gone, leaving the shells gaping at the sky like empty tooth sockets in a skull. I looked at them curiously as we passed, and dared a question. "Who used to live here?"
"Plainspeople," Corporal Parth said. His tone said that was his full reply. Rising early did not suit his temperament, and I suspected already that he blamed me for having to get out of bed so early.
I held my tongue for a time, but then the questions burst out of me. "Why are all the houses broken and gone? Why did they leave? I thought the Plainspeople didn't have towns. Was this a Plainspeople town?"
"Plainspeople don't have towns, they left because they left, and the houses are broken because the Plainspeople didn't know how to build any better than a termite does." Parth's low-voiced answer implied I was stupid for asking.
My father has always had excellent hearing. "Nevare," he said.
I nudged my horse to move up alongside my father's taller mount. He glanced at me once, I think to be sure I was listening, and then said," Most lainspeople did not build permanent towns. But some, like the Bejawi folk, had seasonal settlements. Franner's Bend was one of them. They came with their flocks during the driest part of the year, for there would be grazing and water here. But they didn't like to live for long in one place, and so they didn't build to last. At other times of the year, they took their flocks out onto the Plains and followed the grazing."
"Why didn't they stay here and build something permanent?"
"It wasn't their way, Nevare. We cannot say they didn't know how, for they did build monuments in various locations that were significant to them, and those monuments have weathered the tests of time very well. Someday I shall take you to see the one called Dancing Spindle. But they did not make towns for themselves as we do, or devise a central government, or provide for the common good of their people. And that was why they remained a poor, wandering folk, prey to the Kidona raiders who preyed on them and to the vagaries of the seasons. Now that we have settled the Bejawi and begun to teach them how to maintain villages and schools and stores, they will learn to prosper."