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Showing posts by: Tansy Rayner Roberts click to see Tansy Rayner Roberts's profile
Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 19

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

This one’s about politics, slavery and relationship dramah. Which probably describes most of the chapters in this book except the ones to do with desert warfare. (this chapter has no desert warfare)

Chapter 21: Keeper of the Seal

Summary: Mara is heading back to Kentosani, the Holy City, all over again. She has all sorts of political excuses for being here, but Kevin quickly realises that she is in fact here to investigate the legal ramifications of freeing a slave.

He also realises to his own surprise that he’s gone so thoroughly native and is so thoroughly in love with Mara, that if given an opportunity to stay by her side as a free man, he would take it and stay here forever.

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Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 18

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

Chapter 20—Disquiet

These chapter titles are doing my head in! Talk about vague. I don’t think ‘Disquiet’ sums this one up at all. Maybe ‘Difficult Decisions 101’ or ‘A Good Marriage Proposal Is A Terrible Thing to Waste’

Summary: Bad news comes to the Acoma: Lord Tecuma of the Anasati is dead. Not unexpected, but still devastating to their interests.

Mara and Keyoke wake up Nacoya, who is ill with a cold (and very cranky about men being brought to her bedroom), to ask her advice. She believes Jiro might come around, given that he doesn’t hate Mara quite as much as Tasaio.

However, that’s a pretty high bar and Kevin points out that they shouldn’t underestimate “the human capacity for stupid, illogical, and petty behaviour.’

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Mon
Jan 12 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 17

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! This is the one where we vote Ruling Lords off the island. With swords and polite conversation! Yar!

Chapter 19—Warlord

SUMMARY: The night of bloody swords is not yet over. The Acoma apartment is attacked four more times during the night by soldiers in anonymous black armour. The fighting is relentless, with little time to pause or rest in between the waves of violence.

Mara and the two Lords who are her guests are all still alive, but they have lost many men. Those who are fighting are at the absolute end of their strength. Blood and dead bodies lie all around the apartment, and still the attackers come.

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Mon
Jan 5 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 16

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! All chapters of all books should be called this. Best chapter title ever.

Chapter 18: Bloody Swords

SUMMARY: The unofficial council comes to an end. Mara and Tecuma pool their honour guard to ensure extra security on returning to their apartments—and if this sends the message that the Acoma and the Anasati are friendlier than is actually true, that’s a useful piece of misinformation to have out there.

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Mon
Dec 22 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 15

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! This one’s all about the tasty, tasty politics. Pass the cucumber sandwiches, we have some deals to strike and some secret handshakes to devise.

Chapter 17: Grey Council

Summary: There has been no official call to council, but that’s not stopping the Ruling Lords of Tsurani, who have all decided to turn up to the council hall anyway, to find out what’s going on. It’s all very casual, nothing to see here.

Mara’s first port of call is to Tecuma of the Anasati, her father-in-law—he is polite and shares some gossip with her, but has little patience with her today as he is mourning the loss of his eldest son Halesko on the far side of the Rift. (Oops that means Jiro is first son now, let’s not think too hard about that...) She goes to hang out with her Clan instead. No one is obviously jockeying for position yet, but Mara is well aware that the Acoma are not likely to come out ahead in this latest wave of uncertainty.

Speaking of pure doom for the Acoma, guess who has just arrived home at the Minwanabi estate?

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Mon
Dec 15 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 14

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

This is the ‘Arakasi wishes they had invented telephones’ chapter in which he basically spends several week running around and bringing news to Mara, over and over again. I am reminded of Hermione Granger snapping “I am not an OWL” at Harry Potter. Possibly Hermione should buy Arakasi a stiff drink out of sympathy given that I’m pretty sure his job description does include being an owl.

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Mon
Dec 8 2014 11:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 13

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

All aboard for a magical journey to the Holy City. Just step politely over the corpses in the circus maximus. Popcorn will be provided.

Chapter 14: Celebration

Arakasi has seriously misread the Jiro-Desio bromance, assuming that their meeting was about the Anasati warning the Minwanabi off. Meanwhile, Mara gears up for yet another trip—this time, to the Holy City.

She is thinking about courting a husband again, but is unhappy about using a good man like Hokanu for political ends—but as Nacoya notes, it’s not like Mara is capable of thinking about anyone but Kevin romantically these days.

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Mon
Dec 1 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 12

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts. 

Mara marches home in victory, but it’s a confusing time for the men in her life: Kevin feels his loyalties are divided, while Desio bonds with a new pal over wanting Mara dead and her family destroyed.

If this was a Friends episode, it would be The One With the Mankilling Dogs.

 

Chapter 13: Realignment

Is it me, or do half of these chapter titles sound like management speak? Realignment could mean anything!

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Mon
Nov 24 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 11

Empire Trilogy reread Servant of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts. We’re still in the desert, and it’s still a trap.

Chapter 12 Snares

Summary: The desert tribes attack the forces of the Xacatecas (with supporting cho-ja). Tasaio of the Minwanabi is standing by with his own back up troops (TOLD YOU IT WAS A TRAP) but does not immediately send them in to battle—as he promised the desert tribes that he would.

His Strike Leader is trying hard not to be judgy about this, because Tasaio gets cranky when he thinks people are judging him.

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Mon
Nov 17 2014 11:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 10

Empire Trilogy reread Servant of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts. Provide your own marching song; we’re off to war. Check the iron is off before you leave, and don’t get sand in your desert boots.

Chapter 11: The Desert

SUMMARY: The Acoma forces march out to war—they travel to the seaport of Jamar by water barge, which Kevin finds fascinating as it opens his eyes to a whole new subset of Tsurani culture.

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Mon
Nov 10 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 9

Empire Trilogy reread Servant of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

In our last post, Keyoke was fighting against impossible odds, thanks to a Minwanabi plot that was many, many meetings in the making. But don’t discount the old war horse yet...

Chapter 10—Masterplot

Summary: Keyoke slowly regains consciousness. He is devastated when he hears the voices of Lujan, Nacoya and Mara, assuming that they are all together in the Red God’s halls. But then Mara speaks to him in his delirium, assuring him that they are all alive.

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Mon
Nov 3 2014 1:00pm

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 8

Empire Trilogy reread Servant of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

So this is the chapter in which there is a lot to worry about with Keyoke. Oh, Keyoke. Read the chapter headings some time. There are CLUES in them.

Chapter 9—Ambush

SUMMARY: Keyoke and his warriors are protecting the genuine silk wagons; thanks to their intelligence from Arakasi, they are expecting an ambush on the decoy wagons, not these ones. Oh, Keyoke. Can’t you hear the ominous music playing in the background?

Actually, he can, because he’s just that good. Keyoke’s scouts bring word to him that there is a Minwanabi army massing both ahead of them and behind them. Trap ahoy.

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Mon
Oct 27 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 7

Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

This one features several meetings of an admin variety, though the administrative issues of Tsurani are quite diverse and can include agenda items such as “start a war” and “assassinate the military leaders of my enemy” to “estate management,” “fence posts” and “booty call.”

That is probably the most accurate chapter description I have ever provided. 

Chapter 8Reconciliation

SUMMARY: Tasaio is being subtle. This is not good news for anyone.

The first part of the Minwanabi plan against the Acoma is about to go ahead with a planted rumour that they are about to attack Mara’s silk wagons. Tasaio and Desio discuss whether “bandits” (land troops) are enough for this attack, or if they need to throw in some “pirates” (naval troops) too.

Don’t worry, the subtlety part will arrive later. Any day now.

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Mon
Oct 20 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 6

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

This one embraces its 80s heritage by inspiring nostalgia for a certain sitcom based on a sexist premise (I know, that doesn’t narrow the field much, does it?) and pays off a lot of set up, mostly involving market prices and commercial guilds. But I’m sure there’s a whole lot more horrible murders just around the corner...

Chapter 7—Target

SUMMARY: It’s the morning after, though months have passed. Mara is still in the happy honeymoon phase of her relationship with Kevin, enjoying his intelligent conversation and contribution to her work as well as his sexy bedroom skills.

On this particular drowsy post-coital morning, however, Kevin decides to bring up the matter of poverty in the cities like Sulan-Q, which totally kills the mood. He is disturbed by the lack of alms and charity work to help deal with the homeless and the dispossessed.

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Mon
Oct 13 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 5

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread!

This week we’ve got plotting, politics and trade routes on the brain, but Kevin has other ideas... and he’s one fashion parade away from finally getting Mara’s attention. Bring on the tunic and hose!

Chapter 6—Diversions

Summary: Tasaio of the Minwanabi is better at everything than his cousin. While Tasasio remains cool and patient under pressure, Desio is almost exploding with frustration as the Plan to destroy Mara comes together far too slowly for his liking.

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Mon
Oct 6 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 4

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread!

Potential trigger warning: this chapter contains violence and aggression in a domestic/romantic context. Also slavery as an ongoing theme. These books have a lot more disturbing content than I remember, actually...

There’s some fashion espionage and awkward dating protocol at the end to cheer us all up, though. And a surprise cameo from some other books you may have heard of...

Chapter 5—Entanglement

SUMMARY: Mara and Kevin are on another cozy date—well, Mara calls it an interrogation, but the lights are low and the barbarian man is wearing knotted silk. What do we think is going on?

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Mon
Sep 29 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 3

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread. If discussion of human sacrifice and general gore is distressing to you, you might want to skip this one. I kind of wish I had. But even a queasy stomach won’t stop me from bring the snark to House Acoma!

Not nearly enough making out in this chapter.

Chapter 4: Vows

SUMMARY:
Turakamu is punk rock. Otherwise known as the Red God of Death, his priests are all about skulls, blood, nude dancing with skeletons, and let’s face it, probably sticking safety pins through their noses. The worship of Turakamu is hardcore.

Desio of the Minwanabi is desperately hoping to achieve vengeance on Mara and a reputation for being seriously ruthless. Having invited a group of guests over for a party, he surprises them with a blood ritual. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that no one ever wants to be SURPRISED by a blood ritual.

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Mon
Sep 22 2014 11:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 2

Welcome back to the Servant of the Empire Reread.

This week in the ongoing adventures of Mara of the Acoma, it’s all about admin, flirting with sexy redhead barbarians, and the vengeance of her enemies. But mostly it’s about admin. Also you get two chapters, because one of them is full of nothing much happening at all!

Chapter 2: Planning

SUMMARY: Desio of the Minwanabi is not a happy man. He’s angry, scared, paranoid, mostly drunk and oh yes, regularly abusing the women who are sent to him as stress relief.

Incomo, the First Advisor of the Minwanabi, isn’t having a great time either, mostly because he has to deal with Desio. Desio is no fun to work with.

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Mon
Sep 15 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 1

Here we go again! Welcome to the Servant of the Empire Reread.

The good news for those of you who remember the Great Whitewashed Cover of Daughter of the Empire is that the edition I have of Servant of the Empire from my teen reading years does not feature a blonde Mara on the front cover.

This Mara looks more Arabic than Asian, but as she is portrayed largely in shadow and with a setting sun behind her, the overall effect is racially non-specific, and not especially white, which allows the reader to make their own call. The lack of blondness is a definite improvement! It probably doesn’t hurt that the artist of this particular cover is Don Maitz, husband of one of the book’s authors.

But never mind the wrapping, let’s get to the contents of the second volume.

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Mon
Sep 8 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 15

Welcome back to the Daughter of the Empire Reread! Since I last opened this book, I’ve been to London and back for Loncon 3, this year’s amazing and truly multi-national Worldcon. It was lovely to see old friends, to “meet” longtime online friends, and to make new friends. I was very pleased when people came up to introduce themselves, having heard me on Galactic Suburbia and Verity!, or through my writing, but a special shout out to those of you who came up and said hi because you’ve been reading this very column!

Also, if you haven’t already, go read Liz Bourke’s description of the Hugo ceremony—everything she said and more! Liz is one of the many people I was so delighted to get to meet in person instead of in internet.

And now, the end is here—of Book 1, that is. When we last saw Mara, she was grieving, shocked and under siege from all sides, but still capable of manipulating one murderous concubine, one panicked First Strike Leader, and Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi himself.

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