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Monday, August 20, 2007

Liar's Oath by Elizabeth Moon

Liar's Oath (New York: Baen, 1992, and as part of The Legacy of Gird, also by Baen, 1996) is the fifth book in Elizabeth Moon's sword and sorcery epic. It is a prequel to her The Deed of Paksenarrion, following Surrender None in time sequence.

Liar's Oath is about Luap, a man with an aristocratic, mage-born father, who has helped Gird in his peasant revolt.

It begins with the story of Gird's sacrificial death, from Luap's standpoint. (That story is also told in Surrender None.)

After Gird's death, government falls to the Marshals. Luap never becomes a Marshal, but is equivalent to them, as the government's Archivist. He hasn't manifested any magical powers, but Gird has warned him against doing so, and against seeking any rulership for himself.

Paksenarrion, and the Duke that she elevated to a just and good kingship, in The Deed, appear in Liar's Oath, even though they lived several generations after Luap. The reason is that, as Liar's Oath progresses, Luap gradually comes to do magic, to seek power, and to live longer than he normally would. The first two of these are violations of his oath to Gird. Luap leads the mage-born to a location far from Fin Panir, the home of the government founded by Gird. He travels to this location partly by elven magic. While there, he assumes the role of the leader of the mage-born, becoming, in all but name, a king.

The third evil, seeking to live longer, is an evil that saps one of his young followers. Aris is a young mage-born, who has the gift of healing. Without either of them realizing it, Luap's extended life is slowly destroying Aris's healing ability. It is also, as an evil, destroying the bond that has bound the black elves, evil cousins of the good elves that inhabit much of Moon's subcreation, and much like those of Tolkien. The black elves have been bound into rocks near where Luap's regime exists. Eventually, Luap is called before a dwarf, an elf, and a gnome (gnomes are keepers of law) and told that he and the mage-born must leave. Luap becomes a sort of warning spirit, keeping people away from the area, which is now inhabited by the black elves.

During the withdrawal from the kingdom that Luap has established, Moon makes clear that Luap has fallen spiritually:
"You've made the right start," Seri said. "Now you might try asking the gods." Luap winced. He had not, he realized, really asked the gods anything for a long time. p. 842, Chapter 31. Seri, lifelong companion to Aris, becomes, with him, the first of the paladins, warriors with magical powers, called by the gods, to protect against injustice. Paksenarrion is the last such paladin described in Moon's books.

Paksenarrion and her King appear to Luap, finally, and his burden of guardianship is lifted.

This was an interesting book, but I didn't feel that all the ends were tied. One glaring reason that I felt this way is a passage in The Deed of Paksenarrion:
Ardhiel shook his head. "Sir Marshal, I am sorry that this is not a mystery I can solve for you. Only I agree with Sir Amberion, that this is not a place of evil. Whatever happened here, happened for good." (p. 632, describing the hall that is the center of what had been Luap's realm.) Ardhiel is an elf. That doesn't seem to square with Liar's Oath.

Moon is sensitive to moral matters, and they play a prominent role in her books. As in the other books in this series, I was troubled and somewhat confused by the apparent polytheism of her subcreation.

Thanks for reading.


elbogz said...

The young earth creationist arguments are as useful to the church as the argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I disagree with your statement Just because young-earth creationists claim something is true doesn't make it false.”

I’ve yet to read anything from a young earth creationist that is even remotely true; and that to me, that is the true sin. When have to lie about the world in order to believe in God, then what?

The kids in the church now sing, “Behemoth” was a dinosaur and realize one day these children will read a real science book are realize the church lied to them, and walk away. Look at the recent statistics published that show a mass exodus of children from the church when they reach college.

Noah’s ark is always the biggest lie of all. Let’s assume for the sake of my rant here, that what the young earth creationist say is true. The ark contained 15,500 “kinds” of animals, (including dinosaurs) and the average size was that of a sheep. The ark contained one window, and 8 people. Each person would have to feed 1938 animals a day. They were tough biblical people that worked 16 hours a day. They would have to feed 121 animals an hour or about one animal every 30 seconds. Sheep eat about 25 pounds of hay a day so each person would have to lift and move 1.5 tons of hay per hour.

Oh, wait, there is the poop. Now most of us don’t have a couple of sheep to observe, but lets take 2 large dogs. Now if we scoop up the poop of those two large dogs, and then throw it off the ark, and assume a sheep poops about 5 pounds a day, then each person has to shovel about 9690 pounds of poop a day, carry it up to the one window and throw it out.

Perhaps they left the poop on the Ark. Here is my scientific experiment on the poop problem. Take 2 large dogs. Scoop the poop of those 2 dogs for one year. Take the poop inside your home and live with it. You are allowed to open one window.

Now that said and done, why, oh why do we do this dance? It all leads to confusion and leads us away from God.

Martin LaBar said...


I'm not sure why you commented thus on this post, instead of the one this applies to, but, anyway.

I'm also not sure where you got the 15,500.

But your point remains. It seems as if God would have had to put all the animals in hibernation, or something, for this to have been possible.

elbogz said...

I posted this under the wrong article. My bad. I should really cut and paste this into the above artcle. The 15,000 comes from Morris book on the biblical flood. It's the main reference in the young earth argument.

Martin LaBar said...

OK. Thanks for the Morris reference. I don't think "which book?" matters.

I'm thinking of copying your comment and creating a post out of it myself. May do that right now.

Anonymous said...

some black elves in dk

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, anonymous, for reading and commenting. I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what dk means.