War Maid’s Choice
Baen, Jul 3 2012, $26.00
Hradani horse stealer Prince Bahzell Bahnakson met Sothoii leader Baron Tellian Bowmaster on the battlefield when the latter outnumbered him by 30 to 1. He persuaded his foe to surrender or die; Tellian chose discretion as he knew his opponent was the War God’s Own. They became friends but the Sothoii are upset with what they perceive as cowardice. To add insult the gigantic Bahzell takes a Sothoii steed Walsharno and becomes the first Hradani to be recognized as a wind rider (see the Wind Rider’s Oath).
Bahzell and Tellian push a public works project to build a canal that connects the Sothoii city Derm with the Hradani city Hurgrum. The construction symbolizes to too many on both sides a new era of cooperation. However irate Sothoii deploy assassins targeting Tellian, Bahzell and other leaders of the new alliance made even more insulting by the Baron’s daughter Leanna choosing this Hradani animal; this group choses civil war. Meanwhile the Dark Gods led by Phrobus try for the fourth time to eliminate Bahzell who is the prime barrier from their taking over Norfressa, but this time they deploy powerful minion but miss the key opponent as they target Bahzell and Tellian; no one would suspect an aristocratic war maid and a one-eyed mare to stand in their way.
The latest Bahzell epic fantasy (see Wind Rider’s Oath, Oath of Swords and The War God’s Own) is an engaging tale as David Weber enhances his world though it behooves newcomers to read the backlist entries to understand the social dynamics. Loaded with action and filled with fun but obvious twists as well as a once taboo romance (fuel for the purists), fans will enjoy the War Maid’s Choice.