“Limits of Power” Elizabeth Moon

Limits of Power is the fourth in Elizabeth Moon’s five book series Paladin’s Legacy. It’s a sequel series to a trilogy she wrote in the late 80s collectively called The Deed of Paksenarrion. They’re secondary world fantasy of a sort that is indebted to Tolkein and/or D&D – i.e. there are elves, dwarves, gnomes, dragons, the tech level is pre-industrial revolution, there are gods (of various types) who exist in some tangible sense, and magic of a variety of sorts. The original trilogy follows the story of a sheepfarmer’s daughter called Paksenarrion who joins a mercenary group, and gradually discovers that she is called to serve as a Paladin of Gird. It’s one of my favourite series of books. There’s a duology written afterwards that are set centuries before Paksenarrion’s day, about Gird – whilst he was of god-like status by Paks’s time he began life as an ordinary mortal man, and these two books are his story and the origin story of the main human society in the Paks trilogy.

Paladin’s Legacy is set after the end of The Deed of Paksenarrion, and as the name suggests it’s the working out of the consequences of the events of the Deed. It’s difficult to talk about any of the actual plot happenings in this book without spoilers, being the fourth book in an ongoing series, so I think I won’t try. Unlike the trilogy, which is all from Paks’s point of view, these books are from a variety of viewpoints. Also unlike the trilogy these characters are mostly older. One of the themes running through the books of Paladin’s Legacy so far is of the past catching up with people – people’s family or heritage becoming suddenly important after years spent living some other life whether through choice or necessity. And of people in their middle years or older facing up to change or to new circumstances. And the broader world is too – magic that hasn’t been seen for years starts popping up, other races that are thought to be legend show themselves. The consequences of events from Gird’s time & before coming home to roost. And people having to face up to duties or responsibilities they wouldn’t’ve asked for.

I read this book in an afternoon, and I suspect I’ll get more out of it the next time I read it – this time was to gallop through & find out what happened to everyone. I think once I have the fifth book (next year I guess) I’ll have to go back to the beginning & read them all again 🙂