War Maid's Choice (War God)
by David Weber
Cover Artist: Dominic Harman
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451638356
Date: 03 July 2012 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
War Maidís Choice, a continuation of David Weberís War God series that began with Oath of Swords, follows the adventures of Bahzell, the sworn champion of Tomanak, God of War, and the warrior maid Leeana Hanathafressa. This exciting sword and sorcery novel by an accomplished and prolific author uses an almost Nordic background as men, other races, and gods strive for control. Phrobus, the Father of Evil, is determined to gain control of all worlds and defeat the Gods of Light, especially Tomanak and his champions.
For readers unfamiliar with the series, it may take time and patience to grasp the complexity of the setting, its various races, and the politics at work. Weber provides a list of gods with brief descriptions and another of characters and their relationships. With so many characters and the complex names, readers may be forgiven for some confusion at first.
Initially, Bahzell, who speaks more like an Irishman than any other ethnic group, is overseeing the work of building a tunnel and canal that will speed the transport of goods to various locations at a savings in time and money. However, some places that now collect tolls on such transfers will lose that ability. The mages of Phrobus and his offspring use this knowledge to concoct plots and to steer political unrest to defeat Tomanakís followers.
Leeana, of noble birth, has designs on Bahzell, a hardani (a race of giants with fox-like ears). Having loved him for years, she now plans to seduce him. He has admired her from a distance, but considers such an alliance unthinkable. Humans frown on mixed marriages, and Leeana has already scandalized them by renouncing her birthright as her fatherís heir to become a free war maid. In Leeana, he has created a modern woman living in a traditional setting and all the problems that entails as she strives to be independent and ask no quarter in battle.
Weber resolves some story lines from the earlier novels in the series, but doesnít introduce much new. He also uses intelligent horses that bond with their riders reminiscent of The Dragon Riders of Pern as well as ghosts, ghouls, and demons. The gods flit in and out of the novel.
Gory battle scenes, political skullduggery, and human nature offer plenty of excitement. War Maidís Choice comes eight years after Wind Riderís Oath, the immediately preceding novel. Weber is a prolific author with series in both fantasy and science fiction. Heís especially noted for his battle scenes and the Honorverse series.