Thursday, August 16, 2012

More fun reading

David Weber is a superb world builder, sometimes to the exclusion of character development, but the worlds he creates are always detailed and awesome.  So far, I've read a good portion of the Honor Harrington series, his Safehold series, a few short stories set in Keith Laumer's Bolo world, and...the Bazhell books. 

So far, the Bazhell books are among my favorites--the first book of which is Oath of Swords.*  How not, when you have five different acknowledged races of Man (elves, dwarves, halflings, regular human, and hradani), a seven-and-a-half foot barbarian from the most magically violated and violent of these races introducing himself by beating the hell out of a rapist prince while he was a political hostage at that court, and a long flight from a god that wants to make that barbarian his champion? 

Bazhell is a remarkably well-developed character with the heart of a paladin (which is why he's called as one), and the skeptical dislike of religion of one who's been severely harmed by one.  Which makes it doubly entertaining when he starts having a god visit his dreams while he's traveling away from his father's court to prevent a war: not only does he not listen, he actively blocks it out, turning run-of-the-mill dreams calling one to service into terrifying nightmares that he can't remember.  It takes a visit by that god's sister (a benevolent, gentle, goddess of music), constant harassment, and finally a summoned demon attacking him for Bazhell to actually stop being stubborn and follow his own inclinations. 

One of the things I found the most entertaining in this is that he doesn't just do the math for his space battles (including acceleration and deceleration in a microgravity vacuum), he also works out grammar rules and structure for his different languages--Bazhell has an interesting way of talking that is more than just an accent, and is always consistent.

I highly recommend this series, especially if you're looking for a high fantasy sword and sorcery romp through a feudal-style world. 

*Not only is the linked copy free, it includes an additional short story David Weber wrote in the same world that has me convinced that Weber occasionally samples either very strong drink, or illicit substances: he pulls modern American soldiers out of the Middle East to help battle a demon, then sends them back with their vehicle damaged.

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