Knife Children by Lois McMaster Bujold
Knife Children (2019) is a stand-alone novella set in Lois McMaster Bujold’s SHARING KNIFE world. I wasn’t a fan of that series because I didn’t like its main character, Fawn, but I’m a huge fan of all of Bujold’s other work, and I think she’s one of the best speculative fiction writers that’s ever existed, so I was happy to try this stand-alone story in which Fawn played only an insignificant role. You don’t need to be familiar with SHARING KNIFE to understand and enjoy Knife Children. It will probably make you want to read SHARING KNIFE, though, so I hope you’ll like Fawn better than I did.
Barr Foxbrush is a Lakewalker — a protege of Dag who we met in the previous SHARING KNIFE books (but you didn’t need to know that). Barr is coming home from a long patrol in an isolated region of his land. As he’s been doing for the last 12 years, he makes a detour to check on a family who lives on a remote farmstead.
When he discovers that the girl who lives there has disappeared, he gets upset because, though only a couple of people know it, she is Barr’s biological daughter. When Barr offers to help the family find the girl, he sets off on a quest that includes adventure, danger, magic, companionship, and love.
The SHARING KNIFE world is exciting and magical (Bujold is so good at magic systems), and it was a pleasure to visit it without Fawn in Knife Children. I hope there will be more SHARING KNIFE stories. I’d love to revisit the future of these characters.
I tried two versions of Knife Children. Subterranean Press’s hardback edition is beautifully packaged and has the best cover. There is also a Kindle version that’s less expensive. The audio version of Knife Children is narrated by Tim Campbell. It’s 5 hours long and was produced by Blackstone Audio. This is a good format for this story and I recommend it.