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Legacy: The Sharing Knife Volume Two    by Lois McMaster Bujold order for
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Legacy follows Beguilement as the second in Lois McMaster Bujold's engaging new Sharing Knife series. It's based on an intriguing fantasy construct, about whose origins we learn more in this second episode. In this world, talented Lakewalkers use their groundsense and sacrifice sharing knives to fight an endless - and seemingly impossible - battle against evil that manifests periodically as powerful malices.

A malice transforms animals into mud-men to do its will, collecting captives to feed its growth, and creates a blight all around it, one that takes the land many decades to recover from. Misunderstandings on both sides cause hostility between the Lakewalkers and the farmers whom they protect through great personal sacrifice. In Beguilement, a seasoned Lakewalker patroller, one-handed Dag Redwing Hickory, saved pregnant young runaway farmgirl Fawn Bluefield from a malice, but she also helped him to kill it. What followed was a drawn-out, gentle romance as both recovered from their injuries, followed by a visit to the Bluefield farm and marriage (according to Lakewalker rituals) between Dag and Fawn.

Now, in Legacy, the two make their way to Dag's people, where they meet a generally hostile reception, especially from Dag's rigid mother Cumbia and his maker brother Dar. The reader learns about the Lakewalker way of life alongside Fawn, who's happy with Dag but anxious about her situation once he has to go out on patrol again. That day comes all too soon, when a new and very powerful malice erupts, and Dag leads a patrol as company captain. Of course, there are complications and Fawn takes the initiative to help sort them out and save her husband once more. All of this makes Dag re-think the long-term viability of the Lakewalkers' approach, and leads to a major life decision for himself and Fawn.

This second episode, Legacy, continues the slow, steady pace of The Sharing Knife. It's a pleasure to spend time with these engaging characters and to learn more about their world, its joys and its perils. Fawn, though young and relatively untried, is a strong individual, who questions everything. Her pairing with the scarred (on the inside and outside) yet dedicated patroller is a delightful one - they are well-matched and I look forward to more of their adventures.

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