RogerBW's Blog

The Lost Steersman, Rosemary Kirstein 20 May 2022

2003 fantasy/SF, third of its series. Rowan the Steerswoman comes to the seaside town of Alemeth, searching the Annex for evidence of a wizard who doesn't seem to exist…

I read this book when it came out, and was very disappointed in it for two reasons. First, the double act of Rowan and Bel the barbarian Outskirter that was the core of the first two books is gone here; second, because Rowan's quest is to track down the wizard Slado and stop him from plunging the world into war. That seems like a very urgent thing, but there's essentially no progress on that quest in this book, which I found frustrating. Remembering that as I went into this re-reading, I enjoyed it rather more.

What we do have is attacks by "demons", monstrous headless creatures that spray acid – and the primary thrust of the book, I think, deals with Rowan's attempts to understand them, to move them mentally from "random monster that we kill when it attacks us" to "creature that acts in comprehensible ways".

A secondary plot deals with Janus, the titular lost Steersman, who was Rowan's friend when they trained together but abruptly left the Order and wouldn't say why. Was it, as he claimed, the lingering horror of his experiences? Or is he up to something even now?

It's particularly good to meet more Steerswomen at greater length than we've seen before; Rowan remains Rowan, but her way of doing things isn't the only way, and other Steerswomen handle problems by other means.

The second half of the book drops the social aspects and focuses on Rowan's solitary explorations; it's an odd pacing choice, but again it works as long as one doesn't bring too many expectations from other stories.

Certainly not a place to start the series, but a worthy continuation of it.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Outskirter's Secret, The | Series: The Steerswoman | Next in series: Language of Power, The

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1