Review – Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon

Oath of Fealty CoverOath of Fealty
by Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey – March 11, 2011
ebook – 5.99 (purchased) – also available in paperback

I purchased this book quite a while ago, made an unsuccessful attempt to read it, and then set it aside. For quite a while now, I have been in the mood for a warrior woman story , but have been unable to find one that suited. So I restarted this book from the beginning, and this time, I had none of the problems I had the first time around.

This book picks up after the ending of one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, The Deed of Paksenarrion. I reread the Deed before starting this book, so everything was fresh. I recommend reading it before reading this one–it is well worth the read. At the end of the Deed, Paks is a paladin who helped her former mercenary commander, Kieri Phelan, ascend to the throne of Lyonya, one of the kingdoms of the North. One of Keiri’s captains, Dorrin, also helped. Another captain, Arcolin, manned Phelan’s stronghold in the kingdom of Tsaia.

This book follows Dorrin, Kieri, Arcolin, and occasionally Paks as the story continues. For Kieri’s story, he is mainly setting up his administration and determining how best to protect his vulnerable new kingdom. Arcolin has been granted Kieri’s former lands and possessions, and he takes control of the mercenary company.

Dorrin has the most intriguing story of all, and her story is the main plot. She is an estranged member of the Verrakai family, who were behind a plot to prevent Kieri’s ascension to the Lyonyan throne. The Crown Prince asks her to take control of her mostly-evil family, sending all that she finds to stand judgement–including her own mother and father.

Her estranged family are all under an Order of Attainder, which means everyone in the family is wanted by the law. Dorrin is given the duchy of Verrakai and is sent to round up her family members. She is directly aided in this by Falk, her patron deity, which, at times, seems to give her paladin-like powers.

Arcolin appears to be in a plotline that will take longer to become clear. He has taken one cohort to Aerenis, the war-torn southern half of the continent, where he has a contract to solve a bandit problem in the area surrounding Cortes Vonja. His plotline merges with Dorrin’s as it becomes clear that some of the Verrakai are tangled up in the plot.

Paks makes an occasional appearance, as her job seems to be to support Dorrin.

I wish Ms. Moon would state the ages of her characters; all I really know is that Kieri is in his fifties, but as a half elf, he is biologically equivalent to 35 or so. Dorrin and Arcolin are acknowledged to be somewhat younger in years. I am assuming Dorrin is in her mid-to-late 40s. I get the impression that Arcolin is a little younger than Dorrin–maybe 40 or so. But I could be wrong.

Most of the action in the story takes place when Dorrin and Arcolin are on the page. Dorrin’s actions are mostly magical in nature, whereas all Arcolin has is his trusty sword. I find Dorrin compelling, but by the end of the book I stilled needed a reason to find Arcolin equally so. He is trusty and dependable and fights to the death for his people, and that should be enough. But so far, he seems to be more of a secondary character than the others, even if his story takes up as many pages as the primary characters. T

The same goes for Kieri. Reading about him setting up his administration was just not compelling, and during my first attempt to read the book, it was during his part that I set it aside. And he is a primary character.

Oath of Fealty appealed to me on a deeper level than I expected. It was entertaining and thought-provoking, and I will be moving on to the next book to see what other twists Ms. Moon has planned.

Four stars

11 Thoughts to “Review – Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon”

  1. Would you believe I finally bought the Deed of Paksenarrion? I know you told me to years ago but I have it, still in the box so I don’t get tempted to pick it up before I meet my other obligations :>)

    Now I’ll have to get this one too! Especially since they were nice enough to release it on my birthday.

    I wonder if that is a sign….

    1. That should help with wanting less-dark fantasy, Mulluane. At least for a trilogy or so. I tried Deed of Paksenarrion. I didn’t finish, but I got far enough before I got distracted to say that it didn’t strike me as particularly dark. I mean, I know the good guys will have trouble along the way, but I didn’t see anything to make me doubt that they’ll win more than a pyrrhic victory. {Smile, wink}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

      1. Thanks Anne :>)

        1. You’re welcome, Mulluane. {SMILE}

          Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    2. I hope you like it! The first book may be a bit slow in the middle portion, but the ending and the second two books really make up for it.

      1. I can handle slow if the characters are strong. Should be no problem :>)

  2. _Oath of Fealty_ does sound like a good book, Tia. It makes me want to tackle Deed of Paks. again so I can read Oath in the proper perspective. Just… not immediately, or even particularly soon. I JUST got back to reading a book I’d been stalled in for almost a month, plus a book I’ve been looking forward to just arrived, and I haven’t quite given up on Blake’s first book, and… just let me clear something fictional before I re-start Deed. {wink, GRIN}

    1. You definitely have to be ready for a good long read. It is an unconventional story, and while it has action, it is more cerebral than your typical warrior story. This goes for the first trilogy, and these newer books.

      1. Thanks. That may help me when I get back to it. The problem right now is that while I’m used to reading at least two books simultaneously, if I’m trying to keep track of more than two or three stories, I feel stretched thin. I currently feel stretched thin. So I really need to finish something before I pick up something I’m not currently working on. {SMILE, wink}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

        1. Ha–I do the same thing!

          1. Oh good. Some folks seem to think I’m crazy, I’ve done this for ages. It is why I “get distracted” from so many promising books. It isn’t that I don’t like those books. It’s just that other interesting books come along before I’m done, and next thing I know it’s been weeks since I touched one I had been enjoying, and I can’t quite remember how the story got to where it is. At that point, the best thing is to re-start, but restarting can usually wait until later. {Chuckle, GRIN, wink}

            Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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