The Deed of Paksenarrion

  - Elizabeth Moon

I cannot praise The Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon, enough - do not be put off by the terrible cover art on the individual volumes of this trilogy. Great stuff.

Says Quantum:

The Deed of Paksenarrion cover "... superb writing, a sound and gritty knowledge of military life and action ... a psychological/ethical substratum of enviable intricacy and depth..."

"This is the first work of high heroic fantasy I've seen that has taken the work of Tolkien, assimilated it totally and deeply and absolutely, and produced something altogether new and yet incontestably based on the master ... This is the Fourth Age as it has to have been ... Worldbuilding in the grand tradition, background thought out to the last detail, by someone who knows whereof she speaks. Her military knowledge is impressive, her picture of life in a mercenary company most convincing." says Judith Tarr.

"After so many half-baked clones of Tolkien, and so much generic medieval fantasy, I can't go on enough about how delighted I am to find something of this quality. Brava!"

Her sci-fi is good - especially the Esmay Suiza cycle, starting with Once a Hero. Space opera, perhaps, but sympathetic, strong characters, a devilishly tangled web of politics, neo-religious fanaticism, pitched tactical battles, and the hard-core science of FTL flight, on-board Environmental, of tactical scan arriving after the enemy has already engaged. The military engagements are hard-won, but brilliant.

Some of her work, unfortunately, is weaker. I would steer away from her Legacy of Gird, unless you absolutely must have the prehistory for the Paksennarion books - quite disappointing.

Esmay Suiza fans will want to follow the Heris Serrano books - much the same, but part of that series, and plot and characters are varied enough that you will likely still enjoy them.

Finally, the Kylara Vatta cyle is much the same. Compelling enough, though I found the last of the series thus far, Engaging the Enemy, rather slow-going stuff, with little of the action or the emotional investment of prior books.

Elizabeth Moon Links:

Rating: 8.9


Paul's Top Ten

  1. Lord of the Rings
    J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. Name of the Wind
    Patrick Rothfuss
  3. The Deed of Paksenarrion
    Elizabeth Moon
  4. Ysabel
    Guy Gavriel Kay
  5. Malazan Book of the Fallen
    Steven Erikson
  6. Mistborn Trilogy
    Brandon Sanderson
  7. The Magicians
    Lev Grossman
  8. Harry Potter series
    J.K. Rowling
  9. Black Company novels
    Glen Cook
  10. The Magic of Recluce/The Death of Chaos
    L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

The Full List:
Fantasy Novels Ranked and Rated


Other Links

Paul's Fantasy Favorites Main

My Robert Jordan Compendium:
Weaponry and Military Costuming of the Wheel of Time

My Tolkien Page



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