Not part of the review: I'll be posting updates re: upcoming books and such later on this afternoon. My personal computer is FINALLY on its way to the shop...and for some reason unknown to god and man the other computer decided it wanted to work yesterday. I have no idea what's wrong with it, why it wouldn't reboot itself for about a month, or why it spontaneously decided that TODAY IS THE DAY TO BOOT UP, but I am back in business (for now. It could decide that tonight is the night it doesn't boot again, because FUCK IF I KNOW. Electronics in my life have all the logic of an Anita Blake book)
The news I can give you: Edits on Liberty, the next Starbleached novel, are progressing well. The art should not take too long to do (assuming one of my fucking computers back home continues fucking working because FUCK IF I KNOW) (Seriously. WHY DIDN'T IT WORK LAST WEEK? WHY IS IT WORKING NOW?)
Okay. On to book.
We jump from Paks' POV to the command tent--which makes sense because Paks is in the infirmary. AGAIN.
It's kind of interesting to me that Paks ending every fight by passing the fuck out doesn't bother me half as much as it does when it's Anita doing the collapsing. It does still bug me, mostly because it's repetitious as fuck and it means Paks usually misses the climax of whatever fight she nearly died fighting in...but that's kind of the point, and the difference between these two characters. The macro plot ATM has absofuckinglutely nothing to do with Paks' personal story. In the overview of the story, Paksenarrion is a bit player. A cool one, but she doesn't even hold minor command rank. Yes, she usually misses the end of every single battle, but in her personal story, she meets her climax, does a good job, hits human limits and that's that. She is a VERY limited character from a certain POV, because she's got no pretensions to superhuman strength or endurance. Humans can endure a lot, but everybody's got a point where their system goes "Alright. We're done", and in a medival setting without ANY KIND OF PAIN MANAGEMENT WHATSOEVER (just...think about that for a second, kids. THINK ABOUT IT. No morphene. No Percocet. Not even Tylenol. You get a headache? Deal with it. You get a toothache? Sucks to be you. ) that limit is pretty damn close. Paks rises to the occasion when she needs to...and she pays the price immediately afterwards, that price usually being a prolonged period of unconsciousness.
To compare that to Anita Blake...the difference is that AB DOES have pretensions to superhuman ability. Superhuman strength, superhuman healing factor, magic up the yin-yang and back. She survives shit that would have killed someone like Paks. So having her go out seems less "human limit" and more "Fuck, I don't want to write any more of this." Also: Anita Blake once passed out because she couldn't handle her own orgasm.
(That said, the surgeon taking care of Paks this time around should really have freaked a bit more when Paks went out from that concussion. She didn't fall asleep. That's losing consciousness and that is NOT good.)
So anyway, we're in the command tent. The Duke and the High Marshal are there, as well as a bunch of other faces. The High Marshal explains that his interview with Paks was to see if she was a good guy or a bad guy. He explains that sometimes people survive blows from the servants of dark gods because the survivor serves the same god as the attacker...and that these servants like to wear the symbols of the more people-friendly gods in a spirit of mockery.
The High Marshal then gives a long speech about Paks, and Gird, and the possible connection between the two, that can best be summed up by "fuck if I know". He then tells the Duke, who has "no love for the fellowship of Gird" that it's possible something will call Paks away from him, because the fuck-if-I-know is strong with this one.
The Duke takes it about as well as you'd imagine. Eventually, though, he gets to the point: Paks has served her first enlistment, she can leave whenever she wants to. Also, apparently the Duke thinks Gird is a greedy son of a bitch who wants every fighter in the world to be his, and a bunch of other unflattering things. Dude has issues with God, is what I'm saying
The High Marshal praises the Duke. The Duke tells the High Marshal, effectively, to pull the other one, it's got bells on. The Marshal offers to travel with the company as far as Volja and the Duke says he wouldn't mind the Marshal coming, but he'd be uncomfortable with the marshal leaving, seeing as how the Honeycat still has a lot of agents around, and the High Marshal is a pretty fine target.
The marshal leaves. One of the folk in the room, Dorrin, tells the Duke about the incident in Rotengre when Paks tried to save a family and the "family" attacked her with a poisoned dagger. The duke lets people speculate, then shuts the conversation down. She's his soldier as long as she wants to be, so either tell him that something else has happened with "that blasted medallion" or leave the subject alone.
Dorrin begins complaining about another commander. The Duke assures him that dude is gone by the end of the campaign.
End of chapter.