After really, really struggling with John Gwynne's Malice, a book I *really* wanted to like, I picked up a copy of Legacy of Honour by Elizabeth Moon. Though neither can be really judged as ground-breaking in originality, the difference between the two was stunning. Elizabeth's 'Surrender None' from the omnibus was detailed yet tightly plotted, entertaining and a joy to read: Malice was the opposite, stunning in its general blandness, predictability and bloated dialogue of meaningless portent. I was beginning to think that it was just me, but Elizabeth's showed me that, yes, a Fantasy tale, using the tropes, can be done and be worth reading. However it must be noted that Surrender None was first published in 1990. Hope this isn't a trend.