[LMB] (news) TSK Russian sale and some description at last

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Thu Jan 5 18:22:58 GMT 2006


Hi all --

I just today signed the contract for the sale of _The Sharing Knife_, 
both parts, to my regular publisher AST in Moscow. So Russian fans will 
be getting about the first foreign-language peek at it, once it gets 
through the translation process (which will be a while: the 
really-truly-final post-copy-edit draft is not yet done and available.)

I wrote up a brief description for the HarperCollins author 
questionaire. I suppose it's not too soon to share it, since I've quoted 
bits of it elsewhere. The following is somewhat abridged and despoilered 
and modified and PS'd from the in-house version.

***

The first ideas for this book surfaced in June, 2004, when I was out on 
my back deck trying to soak up some Minnesota sunshine for the long 
winter ahead. (In other words, I made it up, in a welcome idle moment.) 
I began writing in August, quite soon after I’d turned in the final 
manuscript for The Hallowed Hunt. This was to be a book written for my 
own pleasure, at my own pace, without the constraints of a contract or 
pressure of a deadline. The duology length came as a bit of a surprise 
to me, but it was precisely what the story, as it developed, needed. 
Also a surprise was how fast the writing went; I finished the first 
draft in Aug. 2006, a mere year after I’d started, the time it would 
usually take me to write a single much shorter book. It was fun!

I always have the greatest difficulty describing my own books, partly 
because of not wanting to drop spoilers, partly because I don't think 
about them in the same terms most readers describe them in. But I can 
say _The Sharing Knife_ is a romance-fantasy-action/adventure-social 
drama-psychological study. (Or you could just call it a Bujold book.) 
But the two main characters and their relationship and how it changes 
each of their lives is the core of the story, so if you had to pick only 
one element by which to label the book, it's a romance. (Except on the 
spine, where it will be labeled “fantasy”.) The landscape, ecology, and 
history are not, for a change, any analogue from medieval Europe, but 
are more inspired by the countrysides of my own childhood. No kings, no 
castles, no state religions. (No *gods*! After 3 Chalion books close 
together, I needed a break from theology.) The results came out rather 
different than my other high fantasy, more so than I really expected, 
while at the same time giving me a chance to play with -- or argue with 
-- a lot of my favorite fantasy (and other) tropes. Really, there's no 
excuse for this book; I just wrote what I liked. At this point I have no 
idea what readers are going to make of it, but I can hope that enough of 
them will share my tastes.

As the story opens, Fawn Bluefield is a young farmer girl running away 
from home for some very traditional reasons.. On the road, she 
encounters Dag Redwing Hickory, a rather weary patroller from a race of 
mages called Lakewalkers, who are engaged in a generations-long war and 
hunt against a peculiar and recurring supernatural menace called by the 
farmers, "blight bogles", and by the Lakewalkers, "malices.” The history 
and mystery of the Lakewalkers' magical "technology" for dealing with 
this threat -- the “sharing knives” -- drives much of their culture and 
hence this tale. Lakewalker traditions surrounding the making, priming, 
ownership and use of these knives are naturally complex and fraught.

Because Lakewalkers’ magical abilities are inherited, their culture is 
set up to preserve pure bloodlines, and actively discourages liaisons 
between Lakewalkers-born and “farmers”, i.e., anybody who isn’t a 
Lakewalker. These urgent cultural constraints drive the main opposition 
to the romance between Dag and Fawn; their dodgy situation in turn gives 
me a vehicle to explore both of their cultures, their underlying world, 
and its history. The first volume, _Beguilement_, concentrates on Fawn 
and her farmer culture and family; the second volume, _Legacy_, focuses 
more on Dag and his Lakewalker heritage, and goes on to examine the 
tensions between the two cultures and their fragile hopes for a less 
divided future. (And, of course, we find out what happens to the knife.)

Yes, of *course* there is action. But to describe it here would get into 
spoiler-territory rather swiftly, so you'll just have to wait till 
October...

Ta, L.





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