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on March 23, 2011
Kings of the North is a middle book of a series. It's the kind of series Moon tends toward, where the set of books will tell one unified story. This means that Kings starts with events in motion from the recent past as described in Oath of Fealty (and from the more-distant past, with much that is intriguing but not yet explained), and it ends with a resolution to one subplot, but with lots of things left unfinished (and at least one surprise just barely begun) to carry into the rest of the series. It is a journey and not a destination. But I really got caught up in the journey. I'd intended to save the book until I had a little more time ... and then I intended to read a little ... and then I finished it in a day. I am easy to lose at the point where a book like this switches points of view and locations, but it didn't happen here.

I enjoy the mix of world-building and characters. Most of the main characters continue from Oath and from the earlier Deed of Paksennarrion, but there are new ones as well. All are well-rounded; many I'd love to sit in the pub with over a mug of ale, though some I'd rather not meet in a dark alley - or anywhere else. I like the sense of integrity in most of the characters, and the way that integrity doesn't mean that they are all straight-laced, or all in agreement with each other. I like the way the followers of the different religions respect each other. I like the way information about how-things-work is dropped in along the way without derailing the narrative (we learn bits about the management of a bankers guild, running a noble's estate, and training squires, among other things). Overall, I like this book even more than I did Oath, and that's saying something. The only thing I dislike is waiting for the next one.
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on March 23, 2011
Being the second book in the "Paladin's Legacy" I recommend reading "Oath of Fealty" beforehand.

If you truly wish to fully indulge into this universe make sure to read "The Deed of Paksenarrion" and "The Legacy of Gird".

I will not give any spoilers here but as a fan of the series for over 10 years now I can honestly say this is a great continuation and should make Elizabeth very proud.

This series just keeps giving us new aspects of the world that Paksenarrion has irrecoverably altered. Background and realism permeate the covers and make it feel as if I could step inside and be a part of their world.

I eagerly am anticipating the next installment to what should be on everyone's top series to read!
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on March 23, 2011
I enjoyed the story of Paksenarrion. After waiting for years for more Oath of Fealty was a pleasure to read. I waited anxiously for this book to be released and found it hard to put down. It passed my test for a really good book, I was disappointed to reach the last page. I will anxiously await the next book in the series.
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I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying this second series which is a follow-up from Elizabeth Moon’s wonderful trilogy which is not being published as a whole under the title “The Deed of Paksennarrion. And while I have that on my mind, a reader most certainly should start this entire reading journey with the reading of Deed as it is almost necessary to have the information found in those pages to fully understand and enjoy this later series.

Anyway....

Kings of the North begin right where Oath of Fealty ends. This is not a book that lends itself well to a stand alone read. We continue to follow the adventures and story of Kieri Phelan (now a king), Mikeli, Dorrin and the other senior captains of Phelan’s mercenary company. New characters are added – very interesting characters I might say, and Moon’s world building continues to thrive and get better and better. As with the previous book in this second series, Paks is seen little and plays only a minor role but we find that her “Deed” has many unforeseen consequences.

War and the threat of wars loom in the near future both close to home and from Allred in the South. Various characters are discovering new powers they had no idea they had and trouble if found in some very unexpected places. Individuals are not whom they seem – there are betrayals and surprising heroic deeds from unexpected sources. Moon skillfully blends here world building with the personalities of her vividly developed characters causing the reader to want more and more as they read.

I can see some great deeds in the future novels but I can also detect some sources of great sorrow...but hey, this is Moon we are talking about so who knows? I stopped trying to second guess this author about halfway through the original “Deed.”

I cannot wait to get started on the next book in this series.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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on February 12, 2016
Kings of the North is the second of five books in this series. Whereas I don't think it necessary to have read the earlier five books about Paks, I think this series needs to be read in order, as the ending of one book leads directly into the beginning of the next book.

I learned many years ago not to get hooked in series (if I could help it) until the series was complete and I could buy all the books if I wanted, and not have to wait a year or so between stories, I bought all these books in fast order. I read them in fast order.

Moon creates marvelous worlds, and populates them with believable characters. An ex Marine, she knows how to write about the military, a horsewoman, she knows how to write about horses. Although these books are fantasy, they are believable fantasy. She establishes rules for her realms, and then sticks to those rules.

Kieri Phelan is no longer a mercenary—he's a king! Talk about career advancement. Dorrin Verrakai has also moved up in the world, and is now Duke Verrakai. Magic abounds within realistic limits, and we are introduced to dwarves, gnomes, and even a dragon.

While I don't think it is necessary to have read the earlier Paks books from 20 years or so ago, it is assumed you are somewhat familiar with the characters. If you're a fantasy aficionado, you shouldn't have any trouble fitting, and playing, in this world. Just be sure the next book is close at hand before you finish this one.
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on March 11, 2013
Kings of the North (2011) is the second Fantasy novel in the Paladin's Legacy subseries of the Paksenarrion series, following Oath of Fealty. The initial work in this series is The Sheepfarmer's Daughter. The first three volumes were published together as the omnibus edition The Deed of Paksenarrion.

In the previous volume, Kieri was escorted to Lyonya by the Tsaia Royal Guard. Despite his pass from the crown prince, troops of Duke Verrakai and forces from Pargun attacked Kieri and his party. But Phelan troops arrived in time to defeat the attackers.

A message covering the attack was sent with a Gird courier to the crown prince. Mikeli and his friends met with the Knight-Commander and Marshal-Judicar of Gird to discuss their response to the attack. Then Duke Verrakai joined the group disguised as Duke Marrakai.

Duke Varrakai stabbed the two Gird leaders and held Mikeli in thrall. Then Roylan came back from an errand and surprised the Duke. He was attacked with magic, but managed to bite the Duke's hand. Roylan stabbed the Duke with his own knife.

In this novel, Paksenarrion had been a soldier in the Phelan Company, a mercenary unit led by Kieri. Then she became a paladin of Gird.

Falkieri Artfielan Phelan had been the Duke of the North Marches of Tsaia and Commander of the Phelan Company. Now Kieri is the King of Lyonya, the mixed kingdom of humans and elves.

Flessinathlin is Lady of the Ladyforest, ruler of the elven kingdom of Elvenholme and Kieri's grandmother. She is co-ruler with Kieri of Lyonya.

Joriam is Kieri's valet and confidant. He is old enough to have served under Kieri's father.

Mikeli Vostan Keriel Mahieran was the crown prince of Tsaia. Now he is king.

Jandelir Arcolin was the senior captain in the Phelan Company. He is now the Commander of the mercenary company.

Dorrin Varrakai was senior captain of the second cohort in the Phelan Company. She was the niece of Duke Varrakai, but now is the Duke of Varrakai.

Tamis is a Marshall of Gird within Verelia. He is helping Dorrin in clearing the evils out of the Verrakai domain.

Aliam Halveric is the commander of the Halveric Company of Lyonya. He is Kieri's mentor and friend. He is married to Estil.

In this story, Kieri is waiting for his grandmother to come for the Midsummer ritual. He wants to talk to her about the defense of the kingdom. She arrives precisely on time and leaves without giving him an opportunity to discuss defense.

Kieri is getting frustrated at the lack of attention Flessinathlin is paying to human concerns. He is also frustrated with the gap between the humans and elves. At least his hunting party brings some of the humans and elves together.

Kieri is also worried about the sense of betrayal displayed by his sister's bones. He tries to discover from the older residents of the court what might have caused this feeling. Joriam is the only one with some explanation of his dead sister's viewpoint.

Dorrin is busier than she has ever been as a mercenary. She not only has many responsibilities within her duchy, but Mikeli has also made her a member of the King's Council. She has been assigned the task of getting Tsaia ready for war.

Dorrin is also trying to clean the evil magic out of the Verrakai domain. The Marshals are helping her in this task. Marshal wants to burn the Verrakai townhouse.

Dorrin clears the most persistent evil from the house and discovers another ancient relic. Expanding the search, they find tunnels within the subbasement of the Verrakai townhouse, one leading to the palace. They have also found signs that a priest of Liart had recently lived there.

Arcolin is having unusual problems in Aarenis. The brigands are cunning and well trained. They keep attacking his camp. And he finds sailors among their opponents. He is beginning to believe that Alured is behind the so-called brigands.

Aliam has been depressed recently. Only the coronation had lifted his spirits. Estil is getting worried.

This tale present many problems to the kings of the north. Some are solved, but others are growing. And then there is the troubles in Aarenis.

The ancient relics now include a ring that tells Dorrin to put it on her finger. The crown has sealed itself within a wooden box. And the necklace disappears from Fin Panir.

Kieri is looking for a bride. The next installment in this sequence is Echos of Betrayal.

Highly recommended for Moon fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of armed combat, ancient cultures, and a bit of romance. Read and enjoy!

-Arthur W. Jordin
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on March 26, 2011
While this is not a quick read, it fleshes out so much more of the world of Paksenarrion that just reading it for that is worth the time and money. That there is a wonderful story being told is a great bonus.

The story continues from where Oath of Fealty left off, Dorrin is continuing her battle with her family estates, Master Thief not a Thief Arvid is off to Fin Panir to tell his tales about Paks, Kieri is trying to heal the rift between the humans and elfs all the while being pressured into marrying and producing heirs, there are still troubles in Aarenis, and on and on. Secrets are revealed, more magic and mystical things occur, and people learn that what they have always believed to be true isn't necessarily the truth.
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on March 25, 2011
I've been eagerly awaiting this newest installment in Moon's fantasy series. I've been a fan for years since I purchased Sheepfarmer's Daughter just after it was released. King's of the North certainly lives up to my expectations.

The book picks up from where Oath of Fealty left off, following Kieri Phelan's growth as King of Lyonya, Jandelir Arcolin's experiences as Captain and successor to Kieri as Warden of the Northern Marches, and other major and minor characters familiar from the earlier books.

I don't want to spoil things for readers, suffice it to say that Kieri is finding it difficult to balance the affairs of men and elves in Lyonya, and also finding his grandmother less cooperative than he'd hoped. While Pargun is becoming increasingly hostile. Dorrin, now Duke Verrakai, is also finding it difficult to adjust to her new rank and her powers as a magelord. The situation is Aarenis is becoming more complex and Arcolin is having trouble with both bandits and southern politics. Secrets of ancient Aare are surfacing and the current generation of humans and Elders (elves, dwarves and gnomes) are facing the consequences of events from long ago. We also find out more about the elder races -- seeing not only the magic of elves but that of the rockfolk (dwarves and gnomes)and even a dragon. It shouldn't come as a great surprise to find that not all non-humans are benevolent, and while they may be powerful, they aren't perfect and make mistakes.

I will caution readers that since this is the second book of a trilogy, it is a very poor choice to start the series. Familiarity with the characters from the earlier books is assumed, and if you haven't at least read Oath of Fealty, the book won't make much sense, so by all means read the earlier books. I would recommend starting from the beginning and reading all three books of the original trilogy: Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, and Oath of Gold (collected in The Deed of Paksenarrion omnibus edition) before tackling Oath of Fealty and Kings of the North. Picking up the Legacy of Gird omnibus (Surrender None and Liar's Oath)wouldn't hurt, but isn't required.

It's also worth noting that the book isn't linear, the plot has several different threads following different characters through events that are often parallel in time, weaving towards the climax that will undoubtedly follow in the third book. This is characteristic of Moon's writing as far as I can tell, and if that format annoys or distracts you, be forewarned.

The books is also slow to start. Although I found it fairly engrossing most of the time, there are points at which it drags a bit. I don't see this as a major drawback considering the author's skill at weaving an interesting plot. It is also fairly heavy on character development, although it has enough action to satisfy me.

Overall I found the book well worth the price and a highly enjoyable read.
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on June 26, 2013
I met Elizabeth Moon 28 years ago at a book signing. As at that time she was a little known author at that time, I was privileged to be able to sit with her and discuss her Paks trilogy and her recently released science fiction book. After having my book signed, I read it in one night and then devoured the Paks trilogy. Each time she released a new book I read it and thoroughly enjoy it. I was also able to pass down my love of Elizabeth Moon to my daughter who is also a devoted fan.

This is a fine book and I would encourage people to read the Paks trilogy before reading this book so they are familiar with the characters and the story line. You will be in for a delightful experience that will keep you entertained until the final paragraph.
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on March 24, 2011
The best keep getting better - not just Moon and her glorious series, but each character is enriched and challenged to grow, each relationship and sub plot gets richer, each approach to justice and ethics and strength of character is embellished. the whole world of Paks and Gird gets better. Each time I read or reread a book in this series I find new meanings for me as a person and greater fondness for this whole realm as a playground for ideas and visions. I was happy to finish reading Kings of the North, not because I like being left in mid space between this book and the next, but because I get the pleasure of rereading it and rereading and rethinking the other volumes.

And I do feel the new developments of dragons and older races in Kings of the North has expanded the potential of the series way beyond its current bounds. This opens the door to many more books to be treasured. I eagerly await not one more but many.

Finally, thanks amazon for shipping my pre-order so fast.
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