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Mass Market Paperback The Steerswoman Book

ISBN: 0345357620

ISBN13: 9780345357625

The Steerswoman

(Book #1 in the The Steerswoman Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION If you ask, she must answer. A steerswoman's knowledge is shared with any who request it; no steerswoman may refuse a question, and no steerswoman may answer with anything but... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Female, swashbuckling scholar

Original and exciting story, from general plot to specific action, of a female, swashbuckling scholar. Enjoyed the philosophy and integrity of the Steerswomen. Enjoyed figuring out the science behind the wizardry. Wizardry based on science, so much more interesting and exciting than mysticism. As the book cover says, "[B]y using their power against her, the wizards risked more than they realized. For Rowan questioned magic itself!" I have seldom looked forward to a sequel with so much anticipation.

The Machination of Wizards

The Steerswoman is the first novel in the Steerswoman series. Steerswomen, and a very few Steersmen, are members of an order dedicated to discovering and disseminating knowledge. Although they are foremost navigators of the high seas, Steerswomen are also explorers and cartographers upon land as well as sea. With one exception, they are pledged to always answer any question put to them with as truthful a response as is possible within their own limitations. However, they also require anyone of whom they ask questions to respond in the same manner, upon penalty of the Steerswomen's ban; those under the ban do not receive answers from the steerswomen.In this novel, Rowan is a Steerswoman who is interested in some strange jewels which have been found distributed in an unusual pattern. THese jewels are made of strange materials bonded onto metal. Some think that such jewels are magically produced.Rowan meets Bel, an Outskirter warrior, in a frontier tavern and asks her about a collection of such jewels that she is wearing as a belt. Bel tells her that the belt had been made by her father with jewels found embedded in the Dust Ridge far beyond the Outskirts. Rowan is intrigued by this information and wants to visit the site, but first she needs to return to the Steerswomen Archives. Bel has come to the tavern with friends and plans on returning to the Outskirts with them, but the chance to see the Inner Lands is too good to miss. She suggests that she travel to the Archives with Rowan and then accompany her from there to the Dust Ridge. Rowan agrees and they leave the next day.On the way, Rowan and Bel discuss the jewels and their distribution. Rowan notes that the jewels are scattered like thrown objects. When she tries plotting various velocities and initial heights on a graph, she begins to suspect that the jewels were thrown from a very high place at great velocity. Bel suggests that they are part of the disappeared moon, but Rowan knows from her prior investigations that the jewels impacted on the surface long after the Moon vanished. One aspect of her graphs disturbs her; she notices that objects thrown from a great height with sufficient velocity will never hit the planet, but will circle it endlessly.Early the next day, they are attacked and almost killed by one of five men who had been wearing a wizard's uniform in the tavern. Later they are almost killed when they are trapped in a burning inn which has been attacked by a swarm of young dragons; the local wizard who normally controls these dragons arrives on the scene only after the building is fully ablaze. At this point, Rowan begins to suspect that some wizard has ordered her death.Rowan and Bel manage to slip away from the fire scene with a party from the Morgan's Chance, the vessel upon which they have obtained passage, and sail away to Wulfshaven and then overland to the Archives. There Rowan and Bel report these events and the Steerswomen make plans to investigate

Making a Life of Knowledge

There's good news, bad news and, finally, some more good news.This is an excellent book, especially for a first book. A well-conceived world where Asimov's Axiom - "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - is given a wonderful twist. The geography, the culture and the people are skillfully developed. Best of all, there is a woman protagonist who is simply delightful, and who brings a life devoted to the acquisition of knowledge to a quest tale. The sequel, "The Outskirter's Secret," is even better and begins to give you glimpses of the true nature of the world in which these tales are told. The bad news is that the tale is only half told. Fans of Kirstein and her heroine have been waiting years to see what happens next. It was starting look like the story would never be finished.The new good news is that a third book - "The Steerswomans Road" - is coming out later this year. With any luck, the publisher will re-publish the first two books, which appear to be out of print, and allow Kirstein's story to reach a broader audience. This is a terrific introduction to a well-crafted world. Strongly recommended.

A well written fantasy book based on sound educational ideas

Rosemary Kirstein has given us a story that will unfold with precision and enjoyment. This is a book for those who do not need a lot of whizz bang socery, but solid characters etched with humour and humanity. It is written in a style similar to Terry Goodkind, yet the story is not as drawn out. Rowan is a gatherer of information that is happily and deliberately given out to any who would ask of it, in a land where the population has no education, only wizards who would keep their secrets as their power base.It is a riveting tale and I look forward to a second book from Rosemary Kirstein's clever pen.

Possibly the best book I've ever read

The story is of a traveller trying to understand more of her own world. She is a steerswoman, a navigator both in the conventional sense, and as someone who is trying to find out the truth in a land where anything incomprhensible is labelled as magic, often with apparently good reason. The usual approach in a fantasy tale is to keep characterisation to a minimum, and load up on wonder and spectacle. This is quite different. She is the focus of the story, and becomes so familiar to the reader that when she does try to disguise her manner it is obvious without being explained who this mysterious newcomer really is. What is known or unknown is a major theme. The reader will soon find the "magic" disturbingly familiar, and will even be able to second guess what an enchantment will do next. The steerswoman has no such knowledge, and her frustration at not being able to work out from first principles what the reader would have learned in school, becomes a powerful theme. Ignorance kills. This is not a heavy book. the story is short and the style unchallenging. Yet it manages both adventure without childishness and moral and intellectual themes without the crashing preachy stlye adopted by most book of the genre. Do not miss this book.
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