A New Old Thing

Posted: March 23rd, 2017 under Good News, the writing life.
Tags: , ,

As those of you with tattered old mass-market paperbacks with the woman on the black horse on the cover know,   Sheepfarmer’s Daughter came out in 1988, as did Divided Allegiance, and Oath of Gold came out in 1989.   To celebrate 30 years in print, Baen Books is going to put out an Annversary Edition of them next year, and asked if I would write an introduction to each volume.  Of course I said yes, and I’ve roughed out the first one and sent it on to Toni Weisskopf at Baen.

Toni would also like to include some comments from readers for whom the books had special meaning (other than just “a ripping good yarn” kind of thing.   Some of you here and elsewhere have told me at times how the books had an impact on your life, but (lousy housekeeper that I am, mentally and in real life) I don’t have those neatly filed anywhere–and anyway, your permission would be needed to use them publicly.

So if the books got you through a bad patch, or sticking the big fat omnibus inside your jacket to keep it from being rained on meant that when someone shot at you it saved your life…and you’re willing to comment publicly…please let me know.    If you’re a writer and the books inspired you to persist (“Dang that woman–I can write better than SHE can–watch ME get published!!”)  that’s something else Toni would like to know about.   Youngest reader?  Oldest reader?   (My mother read the Paks books, but she’s not alive to testify; she died in 1990.)   Most-distant-from-central-Texas reader?   Read it in _____ language first?

Aside from that, what would YOU like to see in an introduction?  What questions about the books still nag at you?    What about the person who’s never visited Paksworld…what do you think they’d like to read about the books, the process, the writer?

As y’all know from being here, I can rattle on at length about all sorts of things that may or may not be what you really wanted to know, so feel free to hand me some ideas I can talk over with Toni (who, being editor/publisher, will have considerable say in the matter)  as I feel my way forward on the introduction thing.


  • Comment by elizabeth — March 23, 2017 @ 4:41 pm


    Oh–forgot to mention–INTO THE FIRE is now with Editor and Agent both. Out of my hands, just in time to work on the introductions.

    Of course in my fondest dreams, it would come out bound in leather in a boxed set. And my horse wouldn’t be perpetually lame, and the bees turfed out of their nest in the attic today (the ones out working when that happened) wouldn’t be angrily buzzing around and stinging anyone who stands outside too long, and I wouldn’t be fighting another sinus migraine, and…everything in the world would be peaceful and pleasant for everyone. (You may laugh now.)

    But really, is a boxed set too much to hope for, before I die? OK, it is.

    Since I don’t have a book deadline, I will be working on the master map again, in hopes of having something attractive and a reasonable size that could be reproduced and sold to those who want something like that. Of course it needs to be not only done in black and white, but in color, with signs of having been spread out on someone’s knees, rolled up and stuffed in a tube, a bit curly at the edges, and so on. Or that’s my dream, another one.

  • Comment by Kathleen — March 23, 2017 @ 7:12 pm


    Why you’re updating the map, I really like you to put Horngard on it. That’s the question I want an answer to.

  • Comment by Rowanmdm — March 23, 2017 @ 10:16 pm


    I got the omnibus of The Deed of Paksennarrion over a decade ago when I was in my 20s and it quickly became one of my favorite books-and it is one book in my mind. There are three reasons in particular I love this book:

    1) Paks’ growth as a person. Her growth is so clear and so organic; it’s how someone really does get wiser as they grow up and have experiences.

    2) The conversations about what courage is really struck a note with me; those conversations helped me to redfine my self image and adjust my personal expectations for feelings and behaviors into healthier tracks.

    3) The evolution of how Paks reacts to crises. This is the biggest reason I love these books. The first time in the dungeon when Paks was a trainee she reacted with resignation and despair. During the second crisis when she was captured by the Ilusyin (not going to get the book to figure out the spelling right now) Paks reacted with anger and a bit of faith. By the third crisis with the Thieves guild and evil priests Paks reacted with acceptance and faith in her gods. This is something I have been trying wih vaying degrees of sucess to emulate for years. That balance of acceptance and faith is hard to come by. So many of us are stuck in the earlier stages of our reactions to crises; I love having an example of finding peace in the midst of suffering. I’ve used the example of Paks in a church talk and many religious discussions regarding faith. Her faith has helped me develop my own.

  • Comment by gareth — March 24, 2017 @ 4:56 am


    I have what I call comfort books. Like favorite pieces of music to play that you can use to escape the real world for a while and recharge yourself. The Deed has been one of my comfort books ever since I was unable to put it down and finished it at 2 am. My omnibus edition pages are getting a bit yellow and worn.

  • Comment by Eowyn — March 24, 2017 @ 1:30 pm


    I love the Deeds books because they carry me away from whatever is going on in my life and take me to another place. I also like the fact that every time I read it, I pick up on things that I didn’t before. The depth of the world and characters is amazing.

    Things it would be interesting to know are:
    1) How much of the full arc did you know when you started?
    2) What were the hardest portions to write and why?
    3) Which of the characters would you like to have dinner with and why?
    4) Do you have a sense of how the different cultures got started?

  • Comment by Ben — March 24, 2017 @ 6:07 pm


    I borrowed the three books of the Deed from a friend while I was in college. Needless to say, he did not see the return of said books until I was able to purchase the omnibus for myself. I have made it a point to read the entire series at least once a year for the past 25 years and I am sucked into Pak’s journey every single time.
    Elizabeth, you mentioned that your publisher was looking for stories of how the book helped your readers through rough patches in their lives; Pak’s story has helped me through every patch in my life, whether good or bad. Whenever I have felt I needed to find my foundation, I have turned to the Deed and it has never let me down. It has inspired me to craft many hours of adventures in the role-playing games I have run over the years. On deeper level, it has helped me to ‘raise the bar’ on my own personal expectations of myself and to keep striving for the best I can be, no matter what the odds.
    I will not continue ad nauseum and I am glad I found this blog (I don’t know how I missed it for so long), so I could tell you just how much these stories have impacted my life for the best. Thank you, Elizabeth. You have my eternal gratitude.

  • Comment by Sara — March 24, 2017 @ 9:58 pm


    I think I first read the trilogy in 5th or 6th grade. There was one day in class where I was getting near the end and I had already done the work the teacher was going over so I was sneakily reading under my desk. Of course I got caught. But when that amazing woman realized I had completed what I was supposed to be doing, instead of punishing me she told me not to try and hide but instead let her know. Then she told me she never wanted me to get in trouble for reading and sent me to the bean bag chair to be more comfortable while I finished the book.

    That was about the same time that we had to buy a few more copies of the book in our family because anytime one of us started reading it, everyone else had to read it again too. We have “loaned” and never got back more copies than I can remember and loved a few until the tape holding them together was falling apart.

    Later on, my parents had a late in life pregnancy. After much debate, as a family we came up with the perfect name for the new one. Her name is Canna and I would say she lives up to her namesake. She is one of the kindest people you could ever meet.

    Thank you for a story that has given our family so much joy.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — March 25, 2017 @ 5:50 am


    I find it hard to believe it has been 30 years. I vividly remember haunting a long gone local bookstore when the second and third volume came out.

    While today you can just go from one volume to the next, the months long wait made for much excitement when the next one came out. Purchased and read even at the cost of a night’s sleep.

    While I claim no dramatic event, your works have provided many hours of really fine writing.

    Many Thanks,

    Jonathan up here in NH where we had snow flurries yesterday.

  • Comment by Carolyn Pickering — March 25, 2017 @ 6:51 am


    Like Paksenarrion herself, something nudged me and drew my attention to the omnibus while browsing in a bookstore around 9 years ago. I had recently begun writing the first draft of my own still unfinished fantasy novel and was looking for inspiration through reading more widely in the genre. What I discovered in this series was a storyteller who seemed very much a kindred spirit. One who understood the way a human evolved, guided by experience, caring formal and informal mentors, and their own curiousity to learn more and be something good as part of the world around them. The journey, and ultimate joy that Paks experiences by being true to who she is, feels authentic. That’s how I want my writing to be for my characters and my readers. This omnibus, which continues to be my favourite, set the tone and the bar for where I want my writing to go. I am still working at it, knowing that writers, like Paladins, should always dare to dream. Many Thanks from down under.

  • Comment by Garrett — March 25, 2017 @ 10:23 am


    I vividly remember picking up Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, because it was the first book I read from the adult section of the local library. I’d made my way through virtually everything in young adult, and I was cautiously looking around the paperbacks on rotating stands in the adult section when I saw that cover with Paks on the horse. The book itself really struck me, I recall feeling like it gave a much more grounded view of a fantasy world than anything I’d read before. The depiction of the mercenary company felt like it could be an actual military organization, not just something that was glossed over so that you could get to the climactic battle. The main character was likable, made at least her share of mistakes, and clearly grew over the course of the book. All in all, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (and the rest of the trilogy) made a huge impact on me, and it’s a series I compare fantasy novels to even today.

  • Comment by Annabel — March 25, 2017 @ 1:20 pm


    I love Paks. She is truly good, without being goody-goody. She is not perfect, but she knows that, and can live with her faults. I wish I could…..

    Incidentally, I meant to come on here earlier in the week, but forgot, to say “Happy Spring Evener” to you….

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — March 26, 2017 @ 2:12 pm


    Map(s). I have been limping along with annotated copies of the maps printed in the 1992 Omnibus edition and The Legacy of Gird omnibus. Info painstakingly transferred to the map printed in the Paladin’s Legacy books. I definitely want The Map!

    The cover picture I liked best (wish I had saved it) was on the original paperback edition of Oath of Gold. The red horse thundering out at me, Paks with yellow braid flying, sword raised, and grinning. Any chance the anniversary edition would use that image? That Paks is so much more alive than the static, stagey image on the cover of the 1992 omnibus edition.

    The one thing in the “Deed” trilogy that sticks with me is the description of a Kuakgan’s craft. “It’s a Kuakgan’s craft to learn the nature of all creatures: trees and grass as well as birds, beasts, and bees. … It’s a slow craft; living things are various, and each one is different.”

    That pretty much sums up my outline for teaching Natural History.

    I entered the Paksworld Universe after I read “Sassinak” and

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — March 26, 2017 @ 2:15 pm


    Oops! Hit the wrong key. I entered Paksworld by way of a cross-connection from the Pern Universe (Anne Macaffrey), specifically, “Sassinak”. Surely that wasn’t 30 years ago!

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 26, 2017 @ 2:32 pm


    Nadine: Paks is the reason I got to work with McCaffrey on SASSINAK . So lucky! But the first book of Paks came out in 1988, and SASSINAK came out in 1990. Definitely gave me career a boost.

    Annabel: Thank you for the thought. Where I live, the Spring Evener was WARM.

    Carolyn: Thank you–I’m so glad the book worked for you and sparked your own creativity. Sending encouraging vibes!

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 26, 2017 @ 2:36 pm


    I’m guessing that you would have been about the age of one of the sons of my friends who have a small ranch about 15 miles away–they and their sons read chunks of the books as I wrote them and were a huge encouragement. Like you, I ventured into the adult section of the local library as soon as I could escape the rules restricting kids to the children’s room. So glad it worked for you.

  • Comment by Peter — March 26, 2017 @ 5:51 pm


    The omnibus version passes the test of time better than any series I have read. I reread it often and it feels as fresh and unique now as it did when I found it in graduate school. The story has it all: gritty realism, eloquence, beauty, horror, and characters who react realistically to it all. They grow and change.

    My favorite paragraph is the end of the second novel when Pak’s emptines witin became one with the darkness without as she stumbled off into the winter storm. I am so glad I didn’t have to wait 2 years to read what happens next. That line has comforted me in my travails because of how far Paks soars thereafter.

  • Comment by Deborah StLaurent — March 28, 2017 @ 2:37 pm


    I picked up “Sheepfarmer’s Daughter” when it first came out based on the cover and the blurb…. Then I had to wait for the second book to come out…. Then I had to wait for the third book to come out. I was 33.

    Based on the book as a whole, but particularly the training with the pikes, I believed the writer was another veteran like myself. After researching the author, I was quite ecstatic to be correct and felt “Sheepfarmer’s Daughter” showed what female veterans could contribute to our world. (Still do!)

    The first part of “Divided Allegiance” had me overjoyed. Another female gamer like me!!! Then I cried through the second half of the book.

    I have a blood disorder that causes toxins to cross the blood-brain barrier, causing severe depression and mental illness at times. Elizabeth Moon absolutely nailed the thought processes and emotions of someone sliding into and then suffering from severe depression and mental illness. She showed the world what it was like to be mentally ill.

    Then “Oath of Gold” came out. And Paksennarrion went through all the same stages to slowly recover from her depression and mental illness that I do. (And every other mentally ill person that is in recovery.) I do not know how Ms. Moon obtained her understanding of mental illness, but the accuracy of that portrayal made me feel on some deep gut level that the doctors had not been able to reach that I was not alone, and it still gives me strength to continue the struggle for sanity and stability.

  • Comment by Kathleen — March 31, 2017 @ 5:44 pm


    I got a free copy of the Sheepfarmer’s Daughter at Balticon one year when they were passing out free copies of former Crompton award winners. I think it was after the second book came out and the before the third. And I was hooked. Hard to believe it was almost 30 years ago

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — April 2, 2017 @ 1:38 pm


    I thought I had early printings, but when I just now went back and looked mine are all either third or fourth printings. So it must have been mid ’90 when I first saw Sheepfarmer’s Daughter on the shelf in the student union bookstore during graduate school. I was looking for an outlet for and quickly devoured it. Divided Allegiance followed as soon as I could walk over to the bookstore after finishing the first volume. That second ending had me on edge. It couldn’t have been a more identified place and I needed to find a way out. I was most relieved to find Oath of Gold on the shelf when I got back to the bookstore–it hadn’t been there when I bought Divided Allegiance.

    I was going through what has since been said as misdiagnosed PTSD after having had one of my students involved in an on campus active shooter incident. Wound up not passing my comprehensive exams and looking for work not long after the first read through the trilogy. The support network I thought I had in place, I knew graduate school was going to be a challenge so I’d worked on that part too, fell apart for a whole different, and understandable, situation that’s beyond the scope of this post. Anyway, I don’t recall the number of times I reread the trilogy during the twenty months I spent looking for truly meaningful employment and the immediate years after as well. Pak’s story was the one set of novels I turned to for inspiration.

    That’s why I was glad to find out about this blog during the second set. It was so good to be able to give back to the group of people who also lived in Paksworld, and giving words of encouragement when I was able.

    Thank you Elizabeth for giving us Paks.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2017 @ 6:35 am


    Thank you, Daniel, for sharing a difficult part of your life with us. And I’m so glad the books were able to help out some.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2017 @ 6:36 am


    Kathleen: I’m finding it hard to believe the thirty years too, until I try to do things I did easily back then. Yike!

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2017 @ 6:44 am


    Deborah: Thank you for this. When I was writing The Deed of Paksenarrion (1982-85) I was recovering from the worst, but not the first, bout of depression I’ve had, discovering in the process that the depression had been stealing energy and creativity for a long time. So that’s where I got what understanding I have of mental illness…though there’s a lot I don’t know, except from reading. Recovery gave me back the ability to write. I’m lucky in that none of the episodes since have been that bad, and I have better tools to cope with them.

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 3, 2017 @ 6:47 am


    Peter: Because I had written the whole monster as one story, and then had to cut it up to make it salable, my publisher was able to bring out the three volumes only a few months apart–but boy did I get correspondence about that ending of Divided Allegiance. The gap from October to January was too long for many people.

  • Comment by Ken — April 4, 2017 @ 2:26 pm


    I can’t believe it has been 30 years. I STILL have my original paperback copies that I bought when they first came out. Recently I went back and re-read parts that were particularly compelling. The section in Oath of Gold when she is being tortured is a favorite. Her simple acceptance of all that is being done to her a powerful statement.

  • Comment by Jessie — April 6, 2017 @ 7:38 pm


    This trilogy is the first (and only) which, having compulsively devoured my way through, I immediately turned around and read the whole thing again.

    I loved the reality of the depictions–Paks is a big, athletic girl so her running off to become a mercenary was so believable.

    Even more, the brush she had with fear and how she rebuilt her nerve resonated with me, since all my life I’ve had to figure out how to manage and overcome panic attacks. The greatest part of that section was how you described her over-reactiveness to all sorts of stimuli, so it didn’t seem like cowardice, it seemed like rational responses to situations. And as she worked past that problem (desensitized herself) she could function as a warrior–but had no joy in it.

    This sequence of regrowth depicted how I felt as I desensitized myself to some of the activities that had prompted panic attacks as a child, and made me aware that it’s normal not to feel joy in them nowadays. I can’t look to deities to fix that, but I can at least stop punishing myself for the reality!

  • Comment by Shannara — April 11, 2017 @ 8:27 am


    Same here. I have the huge Paks book, an bought the Sassanik book soon after. Great combo of books to own!

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — April 11, 2017 @ 9:22 pm


    I read Sheepfarmer’s Daughter at the recommendation of my late friend, Ken Philip. I knew of Elizabeth’s work from “Sassinak.” I had the three paperback volumes, but replaced them with the omnibus version when it came out in 1992; I have a first printing. I sure wish it was available in hardback.

    I want to lobby again for a Paksworld book that summarizes the background information from the web site, the hints a pieces posted here and, as others have noted, maps. Lots of maps.

  • Comment by Dale — April 13, 2017 @ 11:11 am


    Visitors to our house are usually stunned at the number and diversity of books that line our shelves… and any other available horizontal surface. When asked for my favorite overall book, any category, The Deed is my answer. So of course this is also the book I’ve purchased most frequently in my life to give to others. I love fantasy, and I love military history, and I love gritty realism, and this book stands out for combining them all into a seamless mix. Someone already recalled the pike training; the exercise with hauks and the attention to camp discipline (jacks!) also stood out to me. But the real reason this is my favorite is the underlying theme, which through my personal filters seems especially clear during Easter season. I remember finding your email address in the early days of online connectivity (1995) and asking if my interpretation was what you intended — and you were kind enough to let my idealistic younger self believe whatever I wanted to believe. For two decades the Paksworld inspired my computer passwords and online character names (back when I had time for such things), but far more importantly made me aspire to be a better person. Thank you for the gift!

    As for questions, I always wondered if Paks ever returned to Three Firs to visit? I also wondered what adventures befell the other paladins being trained at Fin Panir, though we did learn quite a few things in the ‘new’ 5-part series.

  • Comment by Carl-Magnus — April 14, 2017 @ 12:18 pm


    I read the three first books when I was about 15-16 years old, after I was given the first book as a Christmas present. It was the Swedish translation by John-Henri Holmberg, Fåraherdens dotter, and I started reading it while I was home sick one week from school. More than a year earlier I had gotten hooked on the fantasy genre after having read the Belgeriad by David Eddings. I early on realized that this book was on a different level.

    Over time, I have come to consider those books as dear friends. Whenever I did not know what book to read, I would pick up one of the Paksenarrion books and read some chapters before I decided on what to read instead, or when I whet home to my parents’ house while at university, I would relax and wind down with a Paksenarrion book. When I think about the books two things always stand out, the first is that whenever I read from the Deeds of Paksenarrion (Sagan om Paksenarrion) I am swept away to the same feeling I had when reading them the first time. The second is that, as I have grown older I see them in a different light, when I was young I liked the adventures Paks had. But now when I am older and the father of a disabled child. I struggle with everyday life and I think of the lessons Paks learns from the Kaukgani about what it is to live a normal life.
    I have recently decided to read through the Deeds of Paksenarrion and Paladins Legacy again in one go, and make notes as I go along to try and understand the books and my reading experience better.
    I would like to know if you have any maps on the Duke Domain and Brewersbridge?

    I’ll say this last bit in Swedish and ask you to rely on Google translate: Tack Elizabeth Moon för att du skrev så bra böcker, de har betytt mer för mig och min fantasi än vad jag någonsin kommer att förstå.

  • Comment by Calle — April 16, 2017 @ 12:26 pm


    I first read Sagan om Paksenarrion (Deeds of Paksenarrion in Swedish) when I about 15-16 years old after my parents gave it to me the first book for Christmas. About one year earlier I had gotten into the fantasy genre after having read the Belgeriad but I quickly realized that this was something on a different level.

    I have come to treat the first three books as old friends. I loved the world building, the characters and story so much that I kept returning to them at different periods in my life. When I did my military service or went to University I would pick up one of the Paks books to relax. Or if I did not know what book to read next I would pick out some of my favourite passages and read them while I decided what book to take. The reason why was, because that I was always swept back original feeling I had when I read them as a teenager.

    Looking back over years that I have had Paks at my side, I realize that depending on what has been going on in my life I have liked different aspects of the story. When I was a teenager I loved the adventures Paks has but now as a parent to a disable daughter I think about Paks lessons with the Kaukgani more.

    Now I have started to read the books from scratch again making notes as I go to try and understand them better and my reading experience better.
    I’ve often wondered when in the story the first cover is supposed to take place in the story? Also, are there maps for the Dukes Domain and Brewersbridge?
    Thanks Elizabeth for writing the Deeds of Paksenarrion. They have given me so much.

  • Comment by Calle — April 16, 2017 @ 12:29 pm


    Funny, I did not see my comment in the mobile site. Thats why I wrote two. Sorry!

  • Comment by Ginny W. — April 16, 2017 @ 7:39 pm


    I first read Sheepfarmer’s Daughter in 1989, as my “treat” for successfully finishing my dissertation (in Chemistry). I really engaged the way supernatural things happened around Paks, but she kept pushing them away. It really captured the “why me?” very well. The same thing with Divided Allegiance, the spiralling decline and increasing vulnerability at the end was so real. And somehow reassuring that it could happen to someone who had been so competent. I grew up with a seriously mentally ill parent, and was (sometimes am) subject to bouts of nightmares and panic attacks. Paks gave me perspective – especially those short letters at the end. The support was there, but she didn’t/couldn’t reach out for it.
    I do confess that the short (only about a month) wait for Oath of Gold to come out was nearly unbearable. My favorite (I sometimes go back and read just that) is the time with the Kuakgan. The healing – the rabbit, the birds, the trees – just seeps off the pages into my soul. But my favorite line is at the end, when Paks tells Arvid, “Maybe it was the only way to save the theives guild” (I am not looking at it, so may not be exact.) That statement turned around some of my own perspective on my experiences, and has often deepened a faith that at that time I barely knew I had. Thank you, it has been a long 30 years in some ways, but Paks made it easier.

  • Comment by Leo — April 17, 2017 @ 2:05 pm


    I was first intrigued by the cover of the original Sheepfarmers Daughter, read the back cover, and then bought the book. Couldn’t wait to get the following books. I still have the originals.

    I liked them so much that i have gotten the $1.99 special reprint, the softcover trilogy book and the hardcover trilogy book.

    I also liked the artwork for the first book so much that i contacted the Artist, and had a special print done for the first book (Sheepfarmers Daughter) and the third book (Oath of Gold). I then had them matted and framed and hanging on my wall for the past 20 years. I only have one other print from a different author that i have gotten (Raymond E Feist) as well.

    Your books are an inspiration of what it is like to strive and not to always succeed, but, worth trying and doing. I have gotten many friends to read your books, and that is how i met my wife as well.

    I look forward to more stories in Paksworld.

    (I would love to know more about the other champions of other gods, and the types of ranks – such as the Captain for Tir, etc.)

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — April 20, 2017 @ 3:01 am


    Calle (Carl-Magnus) – you’ve decided to read through the books again in one go – do include all seven books of both Legacies. To my mind, they form a single work, despite the long gap in the writing, with the Gird pair an extended prologue to the Paladin’s five. It is not just the references back – there is a clear overall theme of conflict and reconciliation between peasants and people with magery. Kieri’s story, as he continues it in the last five books, is a variation on or counterpoint to this big theme.

    Central to my understanding is the scene in the first Gird book where he and Arranha argue over a slice of cooked bacon. Among other things, it explains in advance Gird’s ending – his willingness to offer up all that he is for the sake of peace carries weight with the gods, as no one else’s would, because they see him as the paragon of his people (Arranha’s opinion, my choice of word). My idea is that Dorrin is the paragon of hers (her success is the measure of Luap’s failure), and the setting of Gird’s story against Dorrin’s balances the work.

  • Comment by Carl-Magnus (Calle) — May 1, 2017 @ 12:30 pm


    Thanks for the tip Richard, I had not thought of Gird books that way. I will den ad them to the list. This whole thing actually started reading the recent book of short stories. Deeds of….
    Elizabeth: As I read the Shepherd’s Daughter again in Swedish the characters call Gird St. Gird. Was this the translators choice or is this the same in the originals as well?

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 1, 2017 @ 9:15 pm


    Dorrin as the paragon of magelords (something I hadn’t actually thought of, but like) is set against the several “almost good” magelords: the Rosemage, for instance, and–you’re quite right–Luap. The best magelords of that older era were Aaranha, the Sunlord priest, Aris, the young healer-mage, and Dorhaniya, the old woman who tried to influence Luap.

  • Comment by arthur — May 8, 2017 @ 2:14 am


    The Deed was the first book I asked for when I was under medical care, because there was almost nothing to read there.

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — May 8, 2017 @ 1:23 pm


    Arranha, Aris, Dorhaniya – would any of them have been accepted as the King or Queen of Water, should the regalia have come into their possession? And would any of them have worked to give back that hoarded power? Quite unknowable.

    The Old Human – Gird’s – religious ethos was about giving but the magelords’ ethos was about taking (so Arranha explained). After Gird’s death Luap, I now see starkly clear, became a magelord who took.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 8, 2017 @ 6:35 pm


    Richard Simpkin: Dorhaniya definitely not–even with all her virtues. She opposed cruelty–as far as she could within her culture–she couldn’t really transcend it. Though she could see where other magelords were going wrong, and could understand that Gird was a better ruler (but he smelled, and his speech was crude, and…she really wished he had magelord blood or one of the magelords had had his character. Aris’s power was in giving, as a healer’s must be, but he, like Luap, had been damaged as a child–in Aris’s case, any gift of “commanding” was truncated. Seri had that; the two of them made one paladin, just about. Arranha’s an interesting case…he’s the “intellectual” of the three, the born scholar/researcher/teacher. In terms of character, he is a giver, he is humble as anyone must be to keep learning; he was committed to good, including as his conception of good changed over time. But again, not a ruler/commander. In our terms, a saint in some ways. But not what Dorrin became. And nothing could have given Dorrin but the life she had led.

    Old Human ethics–much like many actual cultures, including many of not most of the North American Native American. The power that comes with “having” is demonstrated by giving, not accumulating more (including accumulating by taking away)–and giving as a cultural component also requires courage–the courage to risk losing and having to rebuild. (Odd temporal overlap: yesterday’s sermon was about that, in relation to anxiety/fear (esp. about the economy) reducing giving to charities, the church, etc.) There’s also, in some but not all “giving” cultures, less to no guilt/shame associated with receiving…in being poor, in needing help sometimes. It occurred to me during Lent this year, in one of the homilies during Lent, that this is one of the other things (besides the need to be a servant) Jesus was trying to get at with the foot-washing, and it shows up strongly in Peter’s refusal at first (“You won’t ever wash MY feet”) which Peter thinks is showing respect and Jesus’s rebuke (to which Peter immediately over-reacts by asking to be washed all over.) The relationships are fluid, shifting…there’s nothing to be proud of in giving, and nothing to be ashamed of in receiving a gift. Desire to help on the one hand and gratitude on the other are both expressions of love (in the highest sense) and either person might be in either role in another situation. In the SF context we talk about “paying it forward” which is certainly better than the pride-and-shame-based mess now so obvious in some groups, but that’s still a chill, stiff proposition. Love warms the context, softens all the stiffness, and both pride and shame evaporate. (OK, time to go pull supper out of the oven!)

  • Comment by Mary — May 24, 2017 @ 11:23 am


    Baen should issue them leather bound and signed or the omnibus in leather and signed, I’d buy it! They done it with one or two of their authors.

    Deed was the first non McCaffrey fantasy I read and picked it because I liked your SF writing and took a chance. I’m glad I did. A couple years later you were at a book signing in W. Falls at Waldens books and I asked you to sign it along with another for a friend. You commented it looked read. I said it was and had been loaned a returned by the friend you were signing the other book for. You asked how she liked it I explained she complained about it mainly because she stayed up all night reading it because it was to good to put down and was late to work the next day. I still on occasion loan it out but only to someone who understands the value and trust I’m placing in them by loaning a signed book. The book is well worn, the lamination peeling off and cover and pages frayed. Its the equivalent of the favorite comfy blanket you snuggle in and get warm and cozy.

    I read it about every year or so and always tear up reading the prologue of Dorthans and her brothers remembering her. Of all the events in the books,the one that stands out for her impact on both the Duke and Halveric’s is Paks answer to the Duke on how the Siniava should die and later the Halveric (?) statement that it must have seemed to be Tammarion speaking to him. Then there’s the letters, I always wish there were more of them. They conveyed more about the characters, added depth and an overall care. Also of all the places, if they were real, the Jolly Potboy ain Brewersbridge would be a good place to stay, warm, homey, with descriptions of the rooms (common and sleeping) and food you can practically smell and taste. There are so many other events and characters some resolved in Dorrins books, but still wanting more.

    Thank you Miss Elizabeth, for the momentary escape your works provide.

  • Comment by Carl-Magus — January 16, 2018 @ 9:19 am


    To Richard Simpkins, I just wanted to say. Thanks again for the tip of reading A legacy of Honor in between the two other books series. It gave me a completely different insight into the second series and really helped me understand how the land started to change after Paksenarrions Deeds.

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