Young Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son. Traditionally in Gernia, the firstborn son is heir to the family fortunes, the second son bears a sword and the third son is consecrated to the priesthood. Nevare will follow his father - newly made a lord by the King - into the cavalry; to the frontier and thence to an advantageous marriage, to carry on the Burvelle name. It is a golden future, and Nevare looks forward to it with relish. For twenty years King Troven's cavalry have pushed the frontiers of Gernia out across the grasslands, subduing the fierce tribes of the plain on its way. Now they have driven the frontier as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the enigmatic Speck people.
The Specks - a dapple-skinned, forest-dwelling folk - retain the last vestiges of magic in a world which is becoming progressive and technologized. The 'civilised' peoples base their beliefs on a rational philosophy founded on scientific principle and a belief in the good god, who displaced the older deities of their world. To them, the Specks are primeval savages, little better than beasts.
Superstitions abound; it is said that they harbour strange diseases and worship trees. Sexual congress with them is regarded as both filthy and foolhardy: the Speck plague which has ravaged the frontier has decimated entire regiments. All these beliefs will touch Nevare's training at the Academy; but his progress there is not as simple as he would wish. He will experience prejudice from the old aristocracy: as the son of a 'new noble' he is segregated into a patrol comprising other new nobles' sons, all of whom will encounter injustice, discrimination and foul play in that hostile and deeply competitive environment. In addition, his world view will be challenged by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny; and by the bizarre dreams which visit him at night. And then, on Dark Evening, the circus comes to Old Thares, bringing with it the first Specks Nevare has ever seen…
The first book in the Soldier Son trilogy, from the author of the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies.
©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"Mesmerising, as always."
I would recommend this book for it drew me in completely. I loved thr Liveship trilogy and the Farseer trilogy and this was just as good. Her characters stay with you as if they are family.
Of course I compare it to her other trilogies. Once I started, I only wanted more! Be warned.
I always think of Nevare's time in the academy as my favourite moments, especially having finished the trilogy. I guess I look back in them with the same nostalgia as Nevare would. All I ever did was root for him in fulfilling his dreams, but knowing Hobb, I was aware it would not be straightforward.
There were many powerful moments, all of which were made more impressive by the talent of the narrator. For fear of spoiling it, I won't say which was my favourite.
I got this book in time for getting a full back tattoo. I would listen to this book while the tattoo artist listened to her music. Not only would I recommend this book for relaxing to, it gives you pain tolerance beyond belief. I was so absorbed in the story that 15 hours of being tattooed was a breeze, even enjoyable.
"Not for the faint hearted."
The writing, production and reading for this trilogy is excellent. I knew that the story gets very bleak when I took the work. As is usual with her writing it is very emotive and the magic is very unique. I wonder how hard it was to write. It is not really a reread for me in the same way as the movies Midnight Express or Unforgiven which despite their excellence I will not watch again. It is a pity that her Megam Lindstrom works are not on audio.
"How wrong was I?"
I thought that Robin Hobb was going to burn out of great ideas but no another series that is unique, interesting and full of fresh characters and new worlds.
With Shamans Crossing they sets up another world full of petty people, desperate aliens and innocence hero's and achieves that brilliant conundrum, do you sympathise most with the hero however worthy, or the alien who wants to be left alone.
I am so glad I have a long drive today and can get into volume two and won't have to wait any longer.
Well most of the book was great especially the start but then it gets boring at the end and doesn't build characters very well I found myself disliking characters that the book says I should like the performance was good but the story isn't great like other Robin Hobb books
"Not one of Robin's best"
A touch of 'The Dark Materials' in this story with a rather naive main character and a slow, rather dull story. The narration was of a similar one pace, almost boring delivery. Nonetheless the characters are sufficiently strong to tempt me to get Book 2 (though the only review available wasn't very promising!) Definitely one for listening to whilst you are doing something in the garden or on a commute.
It was however good enough to make me want to find out what happened.
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