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SERIES—List & Discussions > Wars of Light & Shadow--Fugitive Prince, Ch. I, II, III - SPOILERS!

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message 1: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Act I, book I, Arc III - we start with a fated birth.

The biggest challenge for me, in this section, was the choice of plot element, and then, the research. Starting in, I knew I needed (for drama) the life of an unborn child saved by Elaira.

Well. Every book since the gamut of books always has a malpresentation....or a breech birth. I wanted something different....so stage I, I began researching difficult child births (and eliminated caeserians, too messy). Something that would be tense, and difficult, but that Elaira could handle alone.

I found some startling things: did you know?

That the old, midwife knowledge of how to turn a malpresentation is not taught in Medical schools??? That the docs are taught, go straight to surgery...so the books don't even have the descriptions of how it was once done?

Did you know - the history of contraceptives and what happened to that knowledge over history? When and who suppressed it (what an eye opener!!!)

Did you know - (learned from reading, and reading) that the advent of male doctors in Europe threw the rates of childbirth mortality and infant mortality OFF THE SCALE? Upward? That you stood a better chance, as a mother, giving birth in the 1500s in the wilderness colonies in the Americas than in the best homes in Europe? I read the diary of a colonial midwife in Maine - who delivered something like 1200 children. She only lost 4 mothers. Most to convulsions (likely due to toxic shock syndrome) - she lost a quarter or more of the infants; but the mothers survived. Amazing.

The excursion into historical fact really blew my mind...I'd had no idea. History we are taught has buried ALL of this, and how different a light it sheds on what's going on, today. Infant mortality in the 1920s was LESS than it was in a 1990s US hospital...wow.

I don't know how those statistics may have changed.

For the story: I finally consulted Mickey Zucker Reichert - also an author, but whose day job is MD, Pediatrician. She was able to give me a real world scenario that was NOT a malpresentation, and that happens, yes, for ONE IN TEN births, at the time the book was written in the 90s...(I had no idea, either)...!

And the docs dealt with the problem in exactly the same way, as described in the opening chapter.

Now kick off this discussion: what do you think might be in store for Fionn Areth?

What do you think about the underlying motives of the Koriathain, and the Prime's directive?

What did you think of Lysaer's trial before the Fellowship Sorcerers, and what might it mean, that he was cast from the compact?


message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments All right, now you have piqued my curiosity. When and who suppressed the knowledge of contraception? I read the article in Wikipedia and it nicely skirted the issue.

And I did NOT know all that interesting stuff about birth and infant mortality and such. Ah, what the world has done to us women!


message 3: by Janny (last edited Nov 01, 2010 07:42AM) (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "All right, now you have piqued my curiosity. When and who suppressed the knowledge of contraception? I read the article in Wikipedia and it nicely skirted the issue.

And I did NOT know all that ..."


Sandra - the book and research was a long time ago. Basically - such stuff was known and used in matriarchal cultures. Greece had sylphium, a plant so effective, it was wiped out. Going forward, there were various methods - all safe and natural. But when cultures shifted to patriarchal, and inheritance went through the father's line, EVERYTHING shifted - women became more like chattel, since the only way to know if a man fathered the offspring was to control the wife. The early church muscled out knowledge of contraception in a huge way, and the change of the healer's art to a male only practice led to horrible HORRIBLE complications in childbirth. Have a look at the 'instruments' used - and take into account: the male physician in Europe, delivering a child, would reach INTO the woman's body and pull out the afterbirth - before any knowledge of sanitation...this lied to a HUGE number of 'childbed fevers' - and the women died. The church participated, in that, women who knew herbals were considered 'witches' - in on area of Scotland, a 'witch' was defined as a woman who healed with her hands.

The knowledge of abortifacients was just as suppressed.

You stood a better chance in the Americas because both contraceptive and childbirth knowledge remained in the hands of the women. Childbed fever was virtually unknown (four mothers lost out of over 1000 births, mostly to convulsions likely due to toxic shock syndrome which is related to high blood pressure in pregnancy).

For natural contraceptive knowledge: the author of this book had to look into the old herbal lore kept alive in Appalachia - which had a huge influx of deported Scots and Irish, who also intermarried with the Cherokee. Yarrow, or Queen Anne's Lace, was one herb used.

Basically the whole tale detailed how power was taken away from women for the purposes of power, repression, and control....pretty eye opening. Feudal inheritance and the early church, basically....it was pretty eye opening, this book, all backed up with facts.

I thumbed up my research notes and here are three titles I consulted:

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812

Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America, Expanded Edition

Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Well, duh, I should've known it was the church. ARGH. Interesting looking books. And thanks for the in depth answer.


message 5: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments I finished the first three chapter sets last night. I was struggling just to find the combination of time and energy to read, so I tried another method and bought the ebook. I'm finding that easier as I can now carry it around with me more easily, read while lying down and still make my annotations. The down side is that there is no way to move my comments and annotations OFF my iPhone once I've finished the book, so on a day when I'm feeling well health-wise I shall manually put them onto my old post-it notes and add them to the paper copy of the book.

I'm not going through those notes here, just commenting on the things I recall.

What a horrible bit of fate to lay on Elaira's head. All for trying to do a good turn.

I was also very impressed by the wintery descriptions in that first section with Elaira. I was sitting outside the deck in late spring sunshine and I could still feel the chill. Well done.

I found my responses to Lysaer going back and forwards here. I'd find myself feeling a bit of sympathy and then he'd do something else and I'd be totally over it. I don't remember the specifics, but could go and look it up.

I've been wondering for a long time how much of his actions relate to the curse, his own personality, his birth gifts and circumstances. So it was very interesting to see that analysed.

But I admit the bit I liked best was where the history and SF aspects popped in again. I love those. I hope we'll keep on gathering history as well as moving into the future.

Up until now I hadn't had any real idea of the basis of the Koriani so learning about that was fascinating. All sorts of tropes get subverted in these books, and often in ways we don't expect. To be able to spin an SF trope around so neatly in a fantasy (or apparently fantasy) series is impressive.

I never would have thought when I started that I could have easily called this books post-apocalyptic SF if I wanted to stretch the definitions just a very little. But this aspect of the story fits those guidelines. And in most PA SF stories, it is the characters who are trying to preserve knowledge as civilisation goes backwards who are the heroes. Of course, it's hard to label anyone in these books as firmly a hero, anti-hero, villain or something else, but I feel I've been set up to like and want to support the Fellowship, who are the ones who AREN'T trying to save the old knowledge.

(I had to stop typing for a while and now I've totally lost my train of thought, so will try to come back to it later if I forgot anything.)


message 6: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "I finished the first three chapter sets last night. I was struggling just to find the combination of time and energy to read, so I tried another method and bought the ebook. I'm finding that easier..."

Now - grin, Kerry - that is a neat volte-face, from the 'take' on earlier volumes - when folks thought the Fellowship was an inhibiting force, stopping mankind's development.


message 7: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments I'm more than willing to reverse my opinion if I'm given further data that suggests I should. :)


message 8: by orannia (new)

orannia What did you think of Lysaer's trial before the Fellowship Sorcerers, and what might it mean, that he was cast from the compact?

I'm on the second chapter set now, so I may be a little hazy on this, but...my understanding off the compact was that humanity was permitted to settle on Athera under certain conditions, with the Fellowship charged to ensure those conditions were met. Lysaer being cast from the compact I assume means he has no right to remain...and that will be for the Paravians to enforce upon their return. I'm wondering though if what was lost can ever be regained? Regardless of what has yet to unfold, will Lysaer be able to redeem himself and earn back entry into the compact?

I'm also rapidly coming to the conclusion that multiple characters are being deliberately obtuse...and allowing the facts to be viewed in a certain way to support their rigid, narrow viewpoint. Dakar had the strength to look at the facts in entirety and admit he was wrong. A huge shift, but he did it. Others...aren't being so generous, and are arrogantly assuming that their decisions will have little or no adverse consequences.

Lots to think about :)


message 9: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments orannia wrote: "What did you think of Lysaer's trial before the Fellowship Sorcerers, and what might it mean, that he was cast from the compact?

I'm on the second chapter set now, so I may be a little hazy on t..."


I'm about to create the thread for the next three sets, so you're right at the mark with the read.

Your take on what happened is accurate, with regard to the compact - anybody care to GUESS what Lysaer's status might lead to in the future?

Care to share which characters are being 'deliberately obtuse?' This could be interesting...


message 10: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "I'm more than willing to reverse my opinion if I'm given further data that suggests I should. :)"

Hang on. It's a roller coaster of a ride ride.


message 11: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2361 comments Mod
Trucking along here, just finished Ch. III. I also am really loving learning more about the history of the Koriani and the Fellowship - just to make sure, I am understanding correctly that it was the charge of the Koriani (or one of them) to safeguard/preserve the old knowledge from the starfaring days?

I was very interested in the contrasting goals of the Koriani & the Fellowship with regards to capping the volcano during Lirenda's trial - poor Lirenda! - the difference between short-term gain (the Koriani wanting to stop the eruption to save the lives of the folk living near there) and long-term effects (stopping the eruption just means the force underground will continue to build and possibly create an even worse eruption in the future). [I am just starting to teach my students about plate tectonics, so these sorts of forces are very much on my mind these days!]

I think I may have caught a wisp of a clue towards a very complex past - Janny, tell me if I'm wrong here - Morriel made reference to a "Calum Kincaid" and a terrible weapon that he created in the past before mankind came to Athera. Am I remembering correctly that in an earlier book (I forget exactly which one) Sethvir was referred to by his original mortal name...which was Cal? Is there a connection?

All I can say in response to Lysaer's actions is that Athera needs a Rally to Restore Sanity... ;)

And regarding the history of childbirth... oy. I'm now feeling really, really grateful for an awesome obstetrician (I'm at 18 weeks, if anyone is curious).


message 12: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Shel wrote: "Trucking along here, just finished Ch. III. I also am really loving learning more about the history of the Koriani and the Fellowship - just to make sure, I am understanding correctly that it was ..."

Yes, Asandir calls Sethvir 'Cal' in COMW. I believe there have been oblique references to that past catastrophe here and there. And certainly here. And there's a short story devoted to this subject. I won't say what it is in case Janny thinks it's a spoiler.


message 13: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments Yes, I noticed that too. I love the way we not only have this mystery of what's going to happen to uncover, we have one of what's already happened as well. I love that kind of story. While they're YA and TOTALLY different from this series, I really enjoy Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series because there's that same sense of discovery in both directions.


message 14: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Shel wrote: "Trucking along here, just finished Ch. III. I also am really loving learning more about the history of the Koriani and the Fellowship - just to make sure, I am understanding correctly..."

Shel wrote: "Trucking along here, just finished Ch. III. I also am really loving learning more about the history of the Koriani and the Fellowship - just to make sure, I am understanding correctly that it was ..."

Shel - Congrats on your 18 weeks. Glad you are happy and in good hands.

Also - good spotting - amazing how many miss that (Sethvir's original name) YES! this is significant. (Not a spoiler, Sandra, really, there's plenty enough to blow a few gaskets) - read the satellite short story, Sundering Star.

The motivation of the Koriathain is, literally, worlds different than Fellowship interests. Watch for this bit to build, in due time.

A LOT of your little world building questions are going to fall into place in this Arc.


message 15: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "Yes, I noticed that too. I love the way we not only have this mystery of what's going to happen to uncover, we have one of what's already happened as well. I love that kind of story. While they're ..."

Kerry, if you like stories that build tension both backward and forward - the farther you get, the more you'll enjoy the double barreled (and more) range of complexity.

Fourth Arc should see you in your element, there.


message 16: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments Yay! Thanks Janny, I'm sure I'll like that.


message 17: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments I have no idea where to put this question, so I'm going to throw it in here since this is the most up-to-date thread I can read safely at this point.

Janny, when is the turn of the year, please? Is it midwinter?


message 18: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "I have no idea where to put this question, so I'm going to throw it in here since this is the most up-to-date thread I can read safely at this point.

Janny, when is the turn of the year, please?..."


Kerry: precisely, the Atheran year changes at Winter Solstice Noon.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9 comments I'm way behind in reading these days-- just finished chapter 3 of Fugitive Prince a few minutes ago-- but I've got to say that I'm especially loving this volume. And not just the twists and developments in the basic storyline either, but all the little details given to us in the writing. I found, for example, the passage in the "Exchange" section where Sethvir uses magesight to unweave objects so that their ancient imprints showed so delicious that I read and reread it over and over, wishing that there was some way to develop such a way of seeing in our world as well.


message 20: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Susan wrote: "I'm way behind in reading these days-- just finished chapter 3 of Fugitive Prince a few minutes ago-- but I've got to say that I'm especially loving this volume. And not just the twists and develo..."

Susan - there is no 'behind' - the discussion is active, in any phase, whether or not a reader is just starting - and even, there is a spoiler thread for the series entire, for any who plunge ahead.

On the nuance - grin - there is SO much more to this story than 'just what happens' - if you are enjoying this particular aspect, there will be meaningful development, oncoming.

It is, I think, one of the more underrepresented facets that readers notice, AT THIS STAGE. You are picking up on the spark, or the window, into a whole other layer. And it is not window dressing, at all. :)


message 21: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 334 comments I started this a few days ago and wow does it start with a bang! Your description and treatment of severely meconium stained amniotic fluid was excellent.

As far as the kid and the prophecies go, I don't have a feeling now, think he will be critical and have something to do with the Princes and Mistwraith. I suspect Elaira and the child will be involved with each other.

I had been wondering if the F7 were human, and found stated on page 102 of the HC a sentence that states they are indeed human.

Reading these 1st few chapters, I am wondering how humans actually got to Athera, why and what they were running from. I presume the Gates were involved.

About the Koriani's motivations: My impression is that the Koriani are most concerned with the humans on Athera, whereas the F7 are working under contract with the Paravians which involves being true to the Paravian concepts and desires and to the land of Athera per se. I also think the Koriani are in competition with and jealous of the F7's power and now having the Great Waystone back want to become at least as influential as the F7. For these reasons they will back Lysaer because the F7 back Arithon and because Lysaer seems to put humans 1st.

I read the important chapter where Lysaer is taken to the Sorceror's tower to be convinced to back off and is stripped of his status as a guest on Athera by the F7 when he refuses. I assume this is an empty deed until or unless the Paravians return.

Then I started nodding last nite and tried to force myself to read the attempt the heal Traithe (I think). I am going to have to re-read this part tonight. I think it is important. I got the notion Traithe and the wraiths are involved in a complex way.

There has been big changes between the end of Arc I and the beginning of Arc II.


message 22: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kernos wrote: "I started this a few days ago and wow does it start with a bang! Your description and treatment of severely meconium stained amniotic fluid was excellent.

As far as the kid and the prophecies go,..."


There was a whole lot of interesting research that went into that opening scene (the childbirth) for this book. When I set out to write it, I wanted to first, do it right, and second, make it real without using the cliche malpresentation. And it had to be a problem that could be handled against the world backdrop already set up.

I read tons of books - they were listed, somewhere about, I will try to copy them in here...among the astonishing FACTS I unearthed: it was safer to be born on the frontier in America, than in Europe - where male doctors interfered so much, their practices actually caused childbirth fever. Where, in Europe, there was an extremely HIGH chance the mother would die of blood loss or infection, in the colonies, based on one midwife's diary of some 1200 births, she only lost 4 mothers - none to fever, usually to convulsions likely due to toxic shock syndrome (a spike of high blood pressure, caused by late stage pregnancy). However: she lost 1 in 4 infants.

It was pretty interesting, historically, and scary! to see what the ideas of the church imposed upon women: both in the loss of safer birthing methods, to the complete loss of the awareness of herbal contraception.

The upshot of all this was the scene you read - but the lasting impact of that research on my awareness - pretty eye opening.

If there is interest in that aspect of the discussion, I can present the information.

And yes, big changes with the arc shifts! You are asking all the right questions at this stage.


message 23: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3327 comments Mod
Finished this chapter set this evening. I found Lysaer's "trial" at the Tower to be riveting, and then to follow that up with Morriel's visit to the Tower for tea--wow! Lots of information revealed there and much more hinted at. Like others, the backstory of the humans coming (with the Koriani) to Athera has piqued my curiosity, as well as why exactly the Paravians disappeared and where they went. And if they are somewhere, are they monitoring Athera or relying on the F7 to do that on their behalf.

Lysaer's treatment of Talith is horrible. Curse aside, he is just so cruel. His overweening pride and obsession with his position and self-righteousness--appalling. He feeds his hatred rather than trying to understand and contain it.

The scene with Sethvir and Traithe was heart-breaking, but again, we gained some insight into possibly more complications for the F7 to deal with.

Onward...


message 24: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I love reading your comments, Kathi. I'm glad you're sticking with it!


message 25: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3327 comments Mod
Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I love reading your comments, Kathi. I'm glad you're sticking with it!"

Sandra, I'm hooked, and I look forward to reading the discussion as I finish each chapter set, even though most participants are far ahead of me. I don't mind...


message 26: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kathi wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I love reading your comments, Kathi. I'm glad you're sticking with it!"

Sandra, I'm hooked, and I look forward to reading the discussion as I finish each chapter set, even..."


Kathi, there are people at all stages, some behind, some only a little ahead of you. As the books keep unveiling layers, it is harder for the readers ahead to comment, because the puzzles that are in front of you have already shifted angle. It's too easy to spoil. I do encourage anyone to post or bring up any earlier volume, no matter the timing, and no matter where the leading edge of the read is, currently.

Good you don't mind - and you are not alone.


message 27: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 487 comments Kathi, at the rate you're reading you'll soon catch up to me. I've finished Grand Conspiracy but have taken a break at that point. If I haven't got myself restarted by the time you get to Peril's Gate, maybe we can have our own little readalong of two?


message 28: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2361 comments Mod
I might be in there with you :) Peril's Gate is on my shelf waiting for me, but if I don't get to it before the baby is born it'll probably be a while...


message 29: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Beyond Reality keeps older discussions accessible - so I understand. So even if babies are born, I think you can still revive the thread.

There are several readers who are working their way through, so timing is not an issue. While I am working on the final two volumes, bringing every thread into convergency and finale, I am not going to lose track of any details, at any stage. So I'm right there, just a post away. ;)


message 30: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3327 comments Mod
I love company (that's why I'm in the Beyond Reality group) and I love reading the discussion and I don't stress about whether I'm "caught up" with the group. So if there are others who are in a similar place as I am, that's great. If not, that's OK, too. Real life just keeps getting in the way so I have not been reading at the pace that I was when I first retired a few years ago.


message 31: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kathi wrote: "I love company (that's why I'm in the Beyond Reality group) and I love reading the discussion and I don't stress about whether I'm "caught up" with the group. So if there are others who are in a s..."

That is part of the reason why I love this group.


message 32: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I just finished this part on my third read thru the series. I always forget how good this book is. There is much I'd forgotten.

After finishing the scene with Lysaer and the F7, I had to read the part following that three times, trying to figure out what happened between Sethvir and the adept. Did she want to be a priest? Did Sethvir ask that the adepts step into the breach created by Lysaer's 'religion'? Something about it, I can't quite get my mind around.

I liked the healing part with Traithe, both for what it revealed about him, and for what it revealed about Lysaer. I disliked him intensely the first two times I read this, but this time have been able to see much more clearly how much he's being twisted by the curse. Still, this part shows that there are times when he has choices, but his overweening pride keeps him from making good ones.

I, too, am sickened by what he's doing to Talith. Can't stand it really.

And I loved the scene with Morriel, especially when Sethvir healed the deaf mute's hearing and how it exposed her hypocrisy, which went completely over her head. That was a riot.


message 33: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Wow Sandra, can't believe you're zooming through this again! I still have to read Stormed Fortress! (and I better get cracking, because I may be getting an early review copy of Initiate's Trial... )


message 34: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Oh, I just love this series! And you do need to read Stormed Fortress! And it's so complex that, at least for me, it requires more than one reading.

I asked Janny about the part that baffled me - the conversation between Sethvir and Ath's adept after they returned Lysaer to Avenor.

She said that Sethvir knows that the Brotherhood has the power to intervene, and he is asking her without words. She, as we know declines. Good grief! I missed the meaning completely, and it does explain so much, as (view spoiler) which is an example of how layered the story is. And how easy it is to miss things with Janny's damnable hints, subtlety, and foreshadowings!


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