Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
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The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
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In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
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An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
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Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?
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Showing posts by: Tansy Rayner Roberts click to see Tansy Rayner Roberts's profile
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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Mon
Aug 25 2014 8:00am

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Prepare for emotional whiplash with this one as we bid farewell to a beloved friend, and follow Mara to the edge of that very dangerous cliff she has been skirting around for some time. Politics, murder, blackmail, tea, and a collapsible balcony.

What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 16: Funeral

Summary: Mara attends the funeral of her loyal warrior Papewaio. She is surrounded by a temporary honour guard of Imperial Whites (who are not nearly the same as Imperial Stormtroopers, honestly, but you’re never going to get that image out of your mind now). Nacoya has begged off the ceremony, claiming smoke inhalation, and is quietly resting in the suite of the Warlord himself, safe.

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Mon
Aug 18 2014 8:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 13

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, the birthday party from hell continues with an impromptu Elvis impersonation (you can argue that’s not what the Warlord is doing, but I won’t ever believe you) and a whole lot of snark as Mara faces off against her greatest enemy.

Chapter 15: Arrival

Summary: Almecho the Warlord finally arrives at his own birthday party, with a literal fanfare of music, accompanied by two dark-robed Great Ones (magicians). The Great Ones put a bit of a dampener on the festivities, as they make everyone extremely nervous.

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Mon
Aug 11 2014 8:00am

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara attends the Birthday Party of Doom, Arakasi pretends to be a warrior and a certain vengeful concubine starts honing that revenge of hers.

Worst. Birthday. Party. Ever.

Chapter 14—Acceptance

Summary: Mara has faced many challenges since she took on the mantle of Ruling Lady of the Acoma, but all of this has been small potatoes compared to what she faces now—the Warlord’s birthday party, hosted by Lord Jingu of the Minwanabi on his own lands.

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Mon
Aug 4 2014 10:00am

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Bruli’s seduction doesn’t work out quite the way he hopes, and Arakasi really needs a smart phone. Actually, Bruli’s life would have been much improved if he also had a smart phone. Sadly, there are no smart phones on Kelewan.

Chapter 13: Seduction

Summary: Mara’s courtship of Bruli of the Kehotara has been going on for some time. They have shared several dinners, she has flirted with him, and Nacoya has given him ridiculous amounts of advice as to how to impress the Ruling Ladies, which mostly is about conspicuous wealth and glamour. Arakasi always attends these dinners as a servant, because Bruli’s apparently mindless conversation often includes some significant gems of information, which the Spymaster can add to his portfolio.

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Mon
Jul 28 2014 11:00am

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This week, Mara goes to war over a gambling debt, and then faces a very different kind of warfare back at home...

Chapter 12: Risks

SUMMARY:

Mara approaches Lord Jidu of the Tuscalora over the insult her offered her, and his unpaid gambling debt to her late husband. Lord Jidu is a wealthy lord thanks to his thriving chocha-la crops, and should be able to pay her family what he owes. Unsurprisingly, he now patronises her and dismisses her concerns as unimportant because she is female—gambling debts are matters of honour between men, and she shouldn’t bother her silly little head about them.

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Mon
Jul 14 2014 2:00pm

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Finally a chapter in which almost nothing terrible happens. Phew.

Chapter 11: Renewal

SUMMARY:

Mara performs the ritual of mourning with her husband’s ashes—with notably mixed feelings as compared to when she did this for her father and brother. Her father-in-law arrives at the gates. While her soldiers prepare themselves to defend her if necessary, Mara goes out to Lord Tecuma’s litter and presents Ayaki to him; hardly the ideal circumstances for this ceremony.

Cold in her presence, Tecuma calls her a murderess and makes it clear to her that he knows she must have engineered for Bunto to make such a public insult to the Warlord and his father.

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Mon
Jul 7 2014 2:00pm

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

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This is where Mara's machinations finally begin to pay off - and it's not a pretty sight. Once again, she gambles hard on the Game of the Council, with everything at stake...

Chapter 10: Warlord

SUMMARY:

As the Acoma household rallies itself in preparation for the honoured guests who are about to descend, Nacoya is worried about her mistress. Mara looks like she is preparing for war, rather than a dinner party.

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Mon
Jun 30 2014 9:00am

Rereading The Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 7

Daughter of the Empire reread Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! This is another 2 chapter week, largely because I’m trying to get through Mara and Bunto’s marriage as quickly as possible. Also, Arakasi’s coming home! It’s about time.

Chapter 8: Heir

SUMMARY:

Mara is very pregnant now, and convinced that her baby is a boy. Buntokapi has been proving what an appalling master he is for months now, and the slave girls are clearly quite jumpy and stressed about the sexual demands he places on them.