Monday, January 26, 2015

Oathblood - Mercedes Lackey

Oathblood - Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 1998

The product description:
This exciting new anthology includes a new novella featuring Mercedes Lackey's most popular heroines, Tarma (one of the sword-sworn and most feared of all warriors) and Kethry (who wields magic and weapons for the greater good), whose fates are suddenly bound together in blood by the powers that control their destinies. Also included in the unique volume is the complete collection of Lackey's short stories about these two brave sisters as they answer the call of their destinies with sword and sorcery!  
Nearly all of the Tarma and Kethry stories published in the Sword and Sorceress anthologies edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley have been collected in this volume, along with two previously unpublished stories.

The stories are:
  • Sword Sworn (which was published in Sword and Sorceress III)
    This story details the events that triggered Tarma's taking the oath of Sword-Sworn, and the events that followed, including her meeting with Kethry.
  • Turnabout (Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine)
    The story behind the song "Threes". Turnabout also formed a chapter in The Oathbound IIRC.
  • The Making of a Legend (Sword and Sorceress VI)
    Leslac's introduction, and rather hilarious. The story behind "The Leslac Version" published in the song section of Oathbreakers.
  • Keys (Sword and Sorceress V)
    Another story that made up a chapter in The Oathbound.
  • A Woman's Weapon (Sword and Sorceress IX)
    Tarma and Kethry end up investigating another poisoning. Rather a neat story.
  • The Talisman (Sword and Sorceress VII)
    Definitely a somewhat different story. And one that shows the dangers of a sword like Need.
  • A Tale of Heroes (Sword and Sorceress IV)
    A happy ending for a side-story. Kethry and Tarma aren't there this time to deal with the main problem, but instead end up resolving problems for some pretty ordinary folk. It's always nice to see Tarma around kids. They love her, and she loves them.
  • Friendly Fire (Sword and Sorceress X)
    This is, in my mind the funniest story of the lot. Just how badly can things go for our two heroes, without anything permanent happening to them?
  • Wings of Fire (Sword and Sorceress VIII)
    Set much later than the other previously published stories, this one has cameo appearances from Kethry's children. Aside from that, it's a story which involves the Tayledras.
  • Spring Plowing at Forst Reach
    One of the two previously unpublished stories, this is a good one. The Stud - and anyone who's read the Last Herald Mage trilogy knows just what horse I'm referring to - well his introduction into the Forst Reach horse breeding program has had some consequences. Consequences that Tarma and a couple of returning guest stars will have to deal with in a rather amusing fashion.
  • Oathblood
    The final story in the series, and the second of the previously unpublished stories. We get a picture of what life was like day-to-day in the two schools - Tarma's weaponswork classes and Kethry's mage-school, as well as getting to know Kethry's children, especially Jadrie. A longer story than all the others, and for good reason.
 There is a possibility of one or two more Tarma and Kethry stories in the Sword and Sorceress anthologies, but I'm not sure - Elizabeth Waters and Mercedes Lackey co-write a story called A Dragon In Distress which was published in Sword and Sorceress XII. I have vague memories of the story, but I'm not sure.

Overall, I found Oathblood to be a quick read - though, having read Oathbound just a short time ago, I will admit to skipping the stories that also make up a part of that book on this read. Definitely worth having as a part of your collection.

Read for both the Hardcore Re-Reading Challenge and my own Valdemar Reading Challenge.

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