As I slowly plow through 'The Lesser Kindred' I want to keep recommending books. So, in honor of my other posts, I bring you the third full book by Robin McKinley that takes place in her land of Damar.
The Blue Sword is not McKinley's best work but it is still far from bad. In this story she takes her world of Damar and runs it smack into English colonial society, or her world's equivalent. There are representatives of the Queen and country there trying to colonize and civilize this new land of "barbarians". Again, the hero is a young woman, Harry, who is actually the sister of one of the soldiers at the fort. She is enchanted by the desert and the people of Damar and gets dragged into the thick of things. For fans of 'The Hero and the Crown' Aerin makes several guest appearances and their are legends of her talked about.
Harry ends up going native and not only gets Aerin as her own personal spirit guide but Aerin's sword, thus the title of this book. There is plenty of action as Harry fights a war, wonderful retellings of the Aerin legends from several generations worth of distance and a typical McKinnley romance.
This is a great stand alone book but it is even better when read after 'The Hero and the Crown'. I loved the classic colonial attitudes that McKinnley brought into play and the way she forced her world of high fantasy to meet a world of English ideals.