Passage (2008) is the third fantasy novel of The Sharing Knife series, following Legacy. In the previous volume, Dag and Fawn were called before the camp council on charges pressed by his brother Dar. The council split on the decision, but Dag and Fawn left Hickory Lake Camp anyway. After the Malice incident in Greenspring, Dag wanted to find another way for the Lakewalkers to relate with the Farmers. Besides, their marriage has caused enough trouble with both Lakewalkers and Farmers.
In this novel, Dag and Fawn go first to her family farm. The twins have moved off to stake their own claims and Whit has -- mostly -- quit his teasing of Fawn, so the visit goes well. At least until shortly before they leave, when Whit decides to go with them.
They leave Fawn's pregnant mare at the farm and take two draft horses that Whit has trained. Naturally, Dag continues to ride Copperhead to protect the Farmers; no telling what that horse will do! The three ride off toward the Grace River.
On the way, Dag and Fawn acquaint Whit with previously unshared knowledge about the Lakewalkers and Malices. Since Fawn knows Whit much better than Dag, she does more of the talking. Yet his confirmations make the discussion more real to Whit.
Reaching Glassforge, Whit learns that his sister and brother-in-law are very well known in the town. They stay at the inn where the wounded had been treated and everybody knows Fawn. They even know that she has killed a Malice. Whit is quite amazed at his sister's fame.
When it comes time to leave Glassforge, Whit changes his mind again. Instead to returning home, he decides to travel further with them. He does sell the horses, but gets a job with the firm that bought them. Now Whit and Fawn are riding the wagons to the river and Dag is still riding Copperhead.
In this story, Dag and Fawn meet many people on the trail and boating down the river. Dag also meets a few Lakewalkers in the river camps. He and Fawn, with some help from Whit, disseminate more information about the Lakewalkers and gain more knowledge of the people themselves. Dag gets to perform a few more medical makings on the Farmer folks and starts to gain a reputation among them as a good healer.
The Lakewalker authorities -- even the Patroller chiefs -- are very much against his activities. They order him to stop treating the wounded and sick Farmers and to cease his information campaign. But events on down the river turn out to require his healing and information.
This tale shows that the Farmers can accept the Lakewalker activities as beneficial and understand the dangers of the Malices. Yet the efforts of Dag and Fawn are only a drop in the bucket. They also need to change the Lakewalkers themselves to gain full acceptance from the Farmers.
The story is far from finished. Dag and Fawn will be back in Horizon, the fourth volume in this series. Enjoy!
Highly recommended for Bujold fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of exotic societies, unusual magics, and marital romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin