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Review: Oath of Gold by Elizabeth Moon

The Deed of Paksenarrion
Review: Oath of Gold by Elizabeth Moon

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There are Men in Middle-Earth, even though Tolkein’s stories center on Hobbits and Elves. Elizabeth Moon takes that rich tapestry of orcs, Elves, dark sorcery, and high chivalry to a new place with the trilogy The Deed of Paksenarrion.
&#8212DrPat Review, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter

It is impossible to thoroughly review the third book of Elizabeth Moon’s glorious Paksenarrion trilogy, Oath of Gold, without presenting spoilers to the stories told in the first two. Imagine trying to describe The Return of the King without giving away the suspense of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. The conclusion of Moon’s trilogy is equally rich, and equally bound to to volumes that went before.

For that reason, I will not discuss the story in any length, but simply skim.

The “oath” of the title refers to the one sworn by a palladin, to protect the helpless and fight evil in the world. Paks’ dream was once simple: to be a soldier. Having achieved that, she yearned to be a knight, an officer in Duke Phelan’s command. But always, she has fought evil, growing in her own strength to meet its burgeoning power in the land.

In Oath of Gold, Paks has the chance to fight evil in a more subtle sense; she becomes a Ranger in the forest of Lyonya, that half-Elven domain where trees and Elven Trees intermingle. What she learns from her time there convinces Paks and her superiors that, despite setbacks and errors, she is destined to be a palladin. When this will happen, and how, is unknown to any of them.

While she waits, Paks has the courage to return to the Duke’s company as an ordinary soldier, and face the scorn of those who resented her advancement. She has learned too much to stay in the ranks, though, and the trust Duke Phelan reposes in her leads him to give her more and more responsibility.

Her powers remain, and she senses that evil is gathering around the home of the Duke. Something draws the servants of Achrya and Liart to desire the Duke’s downfall, even his death. When Paks uncovers why the powers of evil are so concerned with the Duke, it creates a crisis that will involve the intervention of the Elven Court, require her to do battle as his champion at Fin Panir, and spotlight Paksenarrion, a palladin of Gird, as a target for the ultimate torture.

No less thrilling than either of the other two novels, Oath of Gold completes the saga of Paksenarrion, the sheepfarmer’s daughter who wanted to be something more, and became something legend. The complete Deed of Paksenarrion is available in an omnibus volume, but I find the individual paperbacks more comfortable to read.

I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough.

Review of Volume 1, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter.
Review of Volume 2, Divided Allegiance.

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About DrPat

  • SFC SKI

    I bought the Pax compilation after borrowing the indivdual paperbacks. I also enjoyed: “Surrender None”, which explains the legend of Gird. It’s interesting to see that “Liar’s Oath” has been retitled above.

    I do agree, this is some of the best post Tolkien fantasy I’ve read. In fact, Pax’s world could fit neatly into Middle Earth many generations hence, as Men ascends and the older races recede. I do believe that pointhas been brought up before.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    This is exactly what Moon set out to do – give a sense of Men’s lives in Middle-Earth.

    Liar’s Oath is one of two volumes subsumed into The Legacy of Gird – the other is Surrender None. Liar’s Oath tells how the stronghold Paks explores in Divided Allegiance came to be created, and why it is so dangerous for Men to explore.

    Oath of Gold is a separate novel, as I have noted in my review.