THE KING'S NAME
Tor, Dec 2001, 25.95, 368 pp.
Though a war hero and perhaps the key to King Urdo's victory over the rival kingdoms and the Jarnish invaders, Sulien ap Gwien only wants to leave behind as memories her soldiering days and just peacefully manage her land. However, Urdo's dream of equal justice under the law for all worries some of the leaders of Tir Tanagari that the King is establishing a dictatorship. Sulien learns first hand that the country is split when visiting her sister Aurien who tries to kill her with poison. The quick reaction of two of Sulien's loyal men saves her life.
As Sulien recovers at her home, she wonders why her sibling wants her dead. When she learns what is happening in her country, she joins the king's side of the civil war. As the final confrontation begins, Sulien knows the cost of infighting to herself, her family, and her country as brother and sister take arms against one another.
The sequel to the fantastic KING'S PEACE is more than just one of the best military science fiction tales of the year. Though sub-genre fans will delight in the taut plot that makes anyone susceptible to doing evil deeds, readers of military fiction will also find THE KING'S NAME a triumph. Jo Walton goes into extreme depth explaining the why and the psychological and economical damage of a civil war so rarely seen in a novel. She deftly interweaves the motives and the effect for killing one's family into the plot. Ms. Walton needs to keep her mantle clear for all the awards this book will garner.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner