A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{May 9, 2010}   A Stranger to Command by Sherwood Smith

Plot: In this prequel to Smith’s Crown Duel, young Vidandric is sent to Marloven Hess to attend the infamous military academy along with all the future commanders of that warlike country. His own homeland is in turmoil because of a tyrannical king. Vidandric is forced to leave in order to protect his life from the “accidents” plaguing young nobles of his generation. But he gains much more from his years in what many consider a barbaric land: strength, skill and an understanding of leadership that will aid him in saving his home.

I enjoyed this story. It is exciting adventure and Vidandric is a complex, sympathetic character. Life in the academy was already covered in Smith’s Inda series but Vidandric’s foreign origins does bring a new twist to it. My one complaint is that we never really get to know the other characters; not enough to truly care about them. This is a novel about Vidandric and everyone else is neglected by comparison. So that when all the Marloven characters are simply dropped towards the end of the book, one barely notices. Romance has a place in this novel, though not an important one. Because this is a prequel, we know that the romance will not work out but I think it’s all the more interesting for that. In real life romance often doesn’t work, for various reasons, and I feel that that is forgotten sometimes in fiction in search for the happy ending. Still romance fans may be a bit disappointed. Nevertheless, this is a worthwhile read and essential reading to fans of Crown Duel.

This was also an opportunity for me to try out those new fangled e-books that everyone has been talking about. I borrowed one of McGill’s Sony E-readers (which I quite enjoyed, I plan to eventually get my own). It was quite easy on the eyes: there is no back-light and the font size can be adjusted. It is also light and easy to hold which is a relief after lugging around some of Sherwood Smith’s other novels. I don’t think e-books will replace the traditional book, there is a whole physical aspect to reading that cannot be ignored, but I think they have their place. Especially when going on vacation. I can never fit as many books as I need into a luggage. 😉

You can preview and purchase the e-book at a very reasonable price from Smashwords.

The book is also available in trade paperback format.


[…] showcase her skills. You can find my reviews of A Posse of Princesses, The Trouble with Kings and A Stranger to Command on my […]

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