The Bujold Nexus

January 2006

Subject: (news) Fictionwise again
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006

Hi all --

I got this news in my e-ad from Fictionwise -- nice to be on their front page again.

Fictionwise is excited to announce that best-selling science fiction and fantasy author Darrell Bain is our 2005 Fictionwise eBook Author of the Year. Mr. Bain is one of the top-selling authors at Fictionwise and his eBooks are very popular with Fictionwise members. Authors Lois McMaster Bujold and Anne McCaffrey were second and third respectively.

Lois McMaster Bujold's Winterfair Gifts is the 2005 Fictionwise eBook of the Year. This award is calculated based on sales and member ratings. Congratulations Darrell and Lois!

Ta, L.

Subject: (news) TSK Russian sale and some description at last
Date: Thu, 05 Jan 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 August 2005, 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.

© 2006 by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Last updated: June 3th 2006