I was introduced to this wonderful book by a coworker while I was still working security some time ago. Between that first devouring immersion to now, I honestly do not know how many times I have reread it (probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 times).
Elizabeth Moon introduces you to a young lady, strong willed and determined to live life HER way who is being pressured by her family to do something she knows she does not want, in a lifestyle she knows she does not fit. Bit by bit, Moon carefully layers knowledge and experience upon the heroine, building her up from a lowly farm girl until she bears the responsibility of being a confidant of kings and others in the ruling classes. Ms. Moon has a wonderful way of taking someone seemingly insignificant and having them work their way up to a very prominent position in her writing. Not just in this book, but in other series as well.
The book itself is an anthology of 3 separate books, but they are written so well, and blend together so well, you really cannot tell where one book stops and the next begins. (Something I hope to be able to emulate one day, but I still have a long way to go!)
When the final chapters of the book unfold, the fight between good and evil is starkly defined, and the heroin is central to the struggle (of course, the story IS about her, after all!), but the lessons she had to learn along the way provides a foundation for the believably of WHY Paks (cheating here, the full name is a finger twister!) is necessarily the central player.
If you like fantasy, if you are a role player familiar with the Dungeons and Dragons system, I think you will find this book both thought provoking and entertaining. Many of the lessons Paks learns in the book are well worth remembering and applying to real life as well.
I don’t know about you, but I will definitely be returning time and again to this story, because it is an old friend that makes me think, makes me laugh, makes me cry, and gives me a little inspiration when I need it most. (In fact, it is the core inspiration to the opening of my own book – thank you Elizabeth Moon!)