Title: The Sharing Knife: Legacy
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Published: 2007, Eos
This is the continuation of the story started in The Sharing Knife: Beguilement. I read that book back in January and really loved it, so I was very impatient for this one to come out. They are very much one story--not book and sequel, but rather part 1 and 2. I believe that Bujold originally wrote them to be one long novel. Legacy starts off right where Beguilement left us. I normally don't say this, because any series book should stand alone, but this is a case where you really shouldn't read Legacy without reading Beguilement first. You'll just be lost.
Fawn (a farmer girl) and Dag (a prominent Lakewalker patroller) have married, despite local custom that prohibits marriage between the two groups. They've made their peace with Fawn's family, and now they head to Dag's home to see what the situation there will be. And it's not good. Dag's family (mother and brother, who he never got along with very well to begin with) will not accept Fawn at all. They think it's a disgrace to the family and the Lakewalkers in general, and not only are they hateful toward Fawn, but they actually bring the two of them before the village council in an effort to make Dag give Fawn up.
Dag has a real dilemma. He loves Fawn desperately; she has brought him peace and comfort and love when he thought he was beyond any of those things. But he also has a great responsibility as a Lakewalker patroller. The "Legacy" left to the Lakewalker people by their reckless ancestors are malices---life-sucking monsters that the Lakewalkers must seek out and destroy in order to keep the world safe. Dag is an excellent patroller, it's what he's spent his life doing. He cannot give it up, but if he is thrown out of his home, he will have no choice. How can he keep his people safe (and Fawn too) if he cannot patrol?
This book is lovely and beautiful and well written, as all of the Bujolds I've read have been. As usual, the themes of honor and responsibility are most important, and they are done so well. The Lakewalkers' "Legacy" reminds me all too much of the legacy that my own power-hungry, energy-mad country is inflicting on the world. The blight described as the aftermath of a malice coming to power and sucking all the life out of a region is all too imaginable. What sacrifices will our descendants have to make to right the wrongs that we are committing?
The best kind of fantasy, then---one that takes a magical story and makes you think about the real world in a new way. So, an excellent book and I hate myself a little for complaining. But, dude, it was a little too gloomy! Beguilement was filled with the same themes, but was also filled with a lovely feeling of hope. I could have used a bit more hope in this one.
But I am still very eager for the next installment in this world. I think I read somewhere that Bujold has two more books planned. Definitely will be picking them up as soon as they are pub'd.