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    Review of WIND RIDER'S OATH by David Weber (see his website)

    Baen, May 2004

    Bahzell Bahnakson is the first hradani to be Champion of the war-god Tomanak, which means that he's stuck righting wrongs, fighting evil, and generally carrying on even if the people he's helping don't like him. And they really don't like him. After a thousand years of war, the Sothoii hate anything having to do with the hradani--and there's a sizable segment of the court who will do just about anything to stir up trouble and end the pesky peace that threatens to break out between Sothoii and the hradani. The dark gods, always looking for an angle, are happy to take the opportunity Bahzell's opponents give them. With luck, they'll be able to eliminate Bahzell and his fellow champion, Kaeritha (the only female Champion of Tomanak in maybe forever). Their first step is the slaughter of a courser (horse-evolved but with human intelligence creatures) herd--and stealing the power that this gives them.

    WIND RIDERS OATH switches back and forth between two simultaneous plots launched by the dark gods. In one, they attempt to undermine the peace--and Baron Tellian Bowmaster--along with the coursers under his domain. In the other, they stir up hostility between the unpopular War Maids (women who have fled to free cities where they are no longer subject to Sothoii's parernalistic legal structure) and the conservative nobility. Success in either plot would cast Sothoii back to its 'times of trouble.' Success in both would be a major victory for the dark gods.

    Author David Weber (see more reviews of novels by Weber) continues his fantasy series with a strong adventure. Bahzell is a charmingly 'human' champion of his god--a champion who sometimes resists the god's orders and who certainly follows them in his own way. The coursers are only a part of the strong world-building that Weber brings to this series.

    Weber is a story-teller rather than an 'author,' and he occasionally gets bogged down in boring conversations where characters chat things out, explain what they are going to do to one another, and generally kill the action. As with many of Weber's books, a hundred pages of trimming would have made the story stronger. Still, when Weber gets down to action, he's hard to beat. The second half of this story, in particular, was a rolicking adventure that kept me turning the pages.

    As with many recent Baen hardbacks, a CD-ROM, containing the full text to dozens of novels including the earlier books in this series and Weber's Honor Harrington series, dramatically enhances the value of the package.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/10/04

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