Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Deed Of Paksenarrion The Deed Of Paksenarrion
by Elizabeth Moon

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

The Deed of Paksenarrion is a compendium volume of Elizabeth Moon’s first three novels, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold, reprinted to coincide with the release of the first sequel to those books, Oath of Fealty, after twenty one years. As a first work this book is something to be proud of: the story hangs together well, has fully developed and believable characters, and a finely paced plot.

As would be expected from Ms Moon’s military background The Deed of Paksenarrion is a military-based yarn, which is told from the point of view of a new recruit: all wide-eyed and innocent. But for those who make baulk at that bald summary, the story is about Paksenarrion’s growth as a person and a soldier; the wars and the fighting are only there as the stage for that growth to be possible. And grow she does.

The Deed of Paksenarrion inevitably draws comparisons to other military-based fantasy stories. For reasons I can’t explain the closest parallel for me is Glen Cook’s Black Company sequence, the early volumes of which were written five to six years before The Deed of Paksenarrion; and which showed soldiering from the subaltern’s perspective.

If I have any complaints of Ms Moon they are that her recruit characters are without guile or cynicism (she served in the US Marine Corps this may be a common trait of volunteers), technology is firmly rooted in the fantasy world pre-industrial, and her armies are so small. But these are mainly the quibbles of a history-phile and not a slur on her writing.

This is a very good read and should definitely grace the shelves of any fan of fantasy adventures. While for reasons of safety, the book weighs in at a kilogramme at least, I wouldn’t recommend this as a book for reading in bed, read it you should.

SFFANZ is a non-profit organisation and registered charity
designed to bring together fans of the fantastic in New Zealand

Contact us by email at: