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The Oathbound (Vows and Honor, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 1988
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From Library Journal
Bound by oath to each other and to the Goddess, the swordswoman Tarma and the wizard Kethry begin a joint career as mercenaries in the constant struggle for justice in a land where demons come in human and not-so-human forms. The author of the "Heroes of Valdemar" trilogy begins a new series involving a pair of likeable, savvy heroines. Sword and sorcery with warmth and humor make this a story that will appeal to most fantasy fans. JC
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for The Oathbound:
“Their adventures are both imaginative and entertaining…. An intricately choreographed confrontation provides an extremely clever resolution.” —Rave Reviews
“A pair of likeable, savvy heroines. Sword and sorcery with warmth and humor.” —Library Journal
“A fascinating fantasy tale.... This is a powerful story of friendship, loyalty, and true heroism.” —Kliatt
Top customer reviews
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Both women are presumably somewhere in their early to mid 20s when this book starts, though their exact ages are never given. While young, they both have already been through a lot in life and their experiences have made them somewhat older than their years. Mature, practical, and intelligent, they complement one another well and would at time seem to be a nearly unbeatable team. Still, they have their weaknesses and shortcomings just like everyone does, and one thing that makes this book more than just a series of short stories cobbled together into a novel is the fact that there is a continuing thread of narrative built around how they grow as individuals and as a team. While they seem to be a natural fit with one another, they find in time that they must still work on their relationship at times in order to ensure that they both remain equal partners and that neither one overly shelters or cossets the other.
Besides seeing how Tarma and Kethry manage to gel together as a team, in reading this from the perspective of knowing how events play out in later years in the various regions of Velgarth, I was struck by how essential many of the things that happen with them are to enabling the things that are to come in the world. There are so many things that happen to them or because of them that if they hadn't happened, or had turned out differently, it would have had major ramifications for the story down the line. Several key pieces of the puzzle that is the Valdemar/Velgarth saga are introduced here, so pay attention, for things that don't seem important at the time can prove to be critical later on. But then, that's true of most all of these early books in the saga.
Overall I feel this book has aged well and is still as enjoyable today as it was back when it first came out. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys old school fantasy, particularly of the sword and sorcery variety, and also to those who like reading about strong female protagonists. I would recommend either picking up a copy of Oathblood which has the story of how Tarma and Kethry first met or finding that story in some other form to read before you start this book. It's certainly not necessary to do so, but it is nice to have that background if you can. I give this book somewhere between 3½ and 4 stars probably, rounding up to give it the benefit of the doubt, for it definitely isn't the best of the most exciting of the saga for all that it is quite good. Certainly you don't want to miss this one if you're reading the rest.