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Ring of Swords Paperback – November 15, 1994
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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"A remarkably suspenseful book....I plan to devour [Arnason's next book] with the same delight and intellectual relish that I found in this one." -Russell Letson, Locus
"At last, a non-predictable, thought-through, can't-stop-reading-it story, full of complicated and irresistible people, some of them human....Enjoy! Enjoy!" -Ursula K. Le Guin
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I found the actions of one of the human characters quite puzzling. He ends up working for the aliens (and more than that), after they... let's say they were as nasty as possible. And he is quite sincere about changing sides. Does this really happen? Plus, he seems to "change" in another way, which is even more fundamental (this sounds cryptic, but I don't want to give spoilers). Don't know if that's possible either. I agree with the reaction of Anna (another character) to the idea of getting together with someone who helped... well, read the book and see.
Also, the human negotiators were represented as part of a small minority who wanted to get off the (severely congested) Earth to "explore strange new worlds". Given that, and the future setting with FTL travel, these people seemed far too xeno- and homophobic.
Not yer average space opera -- well worth reading and thinking about. P.S.: There might be *two* non-human intelligent species here...
But, it is also about the Hwarath, a culture where the women stay home and have babies (oh? Really? Are you sure that's all they do?) and the men are off looking for an enemy. They badly want to find an enemy and when they find humans, yipee!!! Except, humans don't understand the rules of war. I have never read a book where an alien culture is so carefully drawn that you start thinking you are reading something that involved anthropological research, not dry research, but research. Wait a minute, these guys don't exist.
By the time you finish reading Ring of Swords, you will know what the Hwarath consider ethical and honorable, who really calls the shots, what is sexy, what is going on that Hwarath hide from other Hwarath, what they think is exceptable human chow, what their music sounds like (ouch), a touch of their mythology, what they wear when they aren't trying to impress humans and what their theater is like. Especially their theater! I know more about the Hwarath now than I know about Canadians, and I live in Minnesota and have Canadian cousins. And Canadians really do exist.
And by the way, the plot of Ring of Swords is pretty cool too.