A country girl enlists as a recruit in a band of mercenary soldiers, where she excels–and may be receiving supernatural aid from a saint she doesn’t know about or believe in.
Oddly enough, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter reminded me a lot of Battlestar Galactica, with its preoccupations over military honor and what makes for goodness in wartime. And anyone who knows me will let you know that this is a compliment of the highest order.
There are no starships or robots in the first book of the Deed of Paksenarrion, of course–this is epic fantasy of the Tolkien strain, complete with elves and dwarves. I hope Elizabeth Moon has reinvented these creatures; it’s too soon to tell.
Paksenarrion fled her rural home because she does not want to marry, ever. She joins one of the companies comprising the mercenary Guild that keeps order in her country, and finds herself in love with the life of a soldier. Though the mercenaries fight for gold, most of the companies keep to a high sense of order and honor, and this appeals to goodhearted Paks. She proves herself a fierce fighter, and earns heroic honors after a brave solo journey across dangerous territory in order to warn her Duke of an impending threat.
Paks has a few brief brushes with the saint Gird, but she’s not particularly religious and Gird isn’t part of the northern belief system. While a prologue hints that Paks’s destiny is one of greatness, the book doesn’t muck about with any “chosen” nonsense. I really liked the workaday aspect of her early journey. She excels, not because she was foretold or some such nonsense, but because she is brave and loyal and true. I like her tremendously.