|Submitted by Jim DeWitt |
(Feb 19, 2005)
First, don't read this book without first reading the two/three earlier books, "The Steerswomans' Road" and "The Lost Steersman." You'll miss half the fun. This is a tightly interwoven series.
Second, this series and this book are not fantasy, and it's annoying to see how many readers seem to assume it is. This is pure science fiction, and most the science is recognizable. It's true that many of the characters in this book think there is magic involved, but you can't take their presumptions for as your own. That's one of Kirstein's themes.
Third, if you're looking for the sword-and-fur-jock-strap stuff, look somewhere else. There's swordplay all right, but it is incidental. in fact, the best sword fight, in "The Outskirter's Secret," is more a logic experiment than a sword fight. These are novels of ideas and discovery. Don't take anything for granted. Like the protagonist, Rowan, question what you are told.
In a genre where formula plots and stock characters are the norm, this series offers something genuinely new. Kudos to Kirstein for brilliant conception and execution. I can't wait for the next installment.