I Picked Up This Book Because: It was a gift
Charlamagne is a radio personality I know of but I wouldn’t say I’m a fan. I’ve listened to many donkey of the day clips and a few other interviews with the Breakfast Club but morning radio isn’t really my thing. I spend much more time listening to audiobooks which is how I read this.
Charlamagne gives tons of great advice in this book. He also backs it up with examples from his own life. I found chapters 6 and 10 to be particularly inspiring.
The Random Thoughts:
The Score Card:
Tanya Huff says that "The Privilege of Peace" will be the last Torin Kerr book, I've followed Torin Kerr through the five Confederation novels, which I think are some of the best and most innovative military SF novels ever written and then on to the three Peacekeeper novels, which show how Torin, having helped end a galactic war hundreds of years long, handles the peace.
"The Privilege of Peace" was the perfect goodbye to the series. It moved the story arc on, engaging most of my favourite characters but didn't make the mistake of tidying everything up.
As I left the book, I could see that Torin had grown and, in the process, had helped me understand how much more difficult the maintenance of peace can be than the fighting of a war.
I'd love there to be another Torin Kerr book, but if there isn't I'll look on this as nine great novels, set in a universe I believe in, with people I care about, which never took the most obvious path and always placed accountability above expedience. I real life was like that, I'd enjoy living there. It isn't, but at least I have Tanya Huff to show me that it could be.
Margurite Gavin's narration has always increased my enjoyment of the Torin Kerr books. Her voices are so well thought through that I could immediately recognise who was speaking, regardless of sex or species.
If you haven't read this series yet, you have a lot of pleasure ahead of you. Take a look at my reviews below
The first three books in the Confederation series were fast-moving, trope-twisting, emotionally taxing military SF novels that established the Confederation universe from Torin's point of view.
"Valor's Trial"(every time I see these titles, I want to add a U) was the game changer for me. The universe expanded and Torin became someone even more interesting.Va
There's a lot of sadness and a lot of hope in this book. It's probably the most anti-war pro-soldier military SF book I've read.
"The Truth of Valor" brought the Confederation series to an end in an unexpected but enjoyable way and I thought it was the last I'd see of Torin Kerr.
What more could be asked of her?
Well, it turns out that she was going to be asked the question: "What do non-violent Elder Races do with the we've-been-fighting-a-war-for-so-long-it's-all-we-know Younger Races?"
When Torin considered that question, she did what she always does. She set about bringing her people home. She also started to rethink what everyone thought the knew about the Elder Races.
"An Ancient Peace", the first Peacekeeper novel had Torin in transition, no longer in the Corps but not really equipped to be a civilian and kept me guessing all the way through to the surprising outcome.
It reset the situation completely, especially with regard to the Elder Races
In "A Peace Divided" Torin leads a Peace Keeper Strike Force, dealing with violent people churning through civilian space in the wake of an unexpected peace. Torin’s not a soldier anymore. Winning now involved more than getting in, killing the enemy and getting her people home. Now she has to uphold the law and make sure as few people as possible, on either side, die while she’s doing it.
She also starts to question how the Confederacy she's always defended, works and whether she might have to find a way of changing it to protect her people.
I received this book as a free ARC from NetGalley. This will not prevent me from writing an honest review.
For several years now, it has been common for comments to online articles and blog posts to call out the author and/or subject to "check your privilege" or to be notified that "your privilege is showing." In response, many writers include a list of privilege-acknowledging disclaimers to preempt such reactions. The privilege framework plays out in higher education and politics as well. Phoebe Maltz Bovy contends that the call-outs and self-policing are counter-productive. Far from improving inequities, they help distract from addressing valid issues. While writers and thinkers are busy acknowledging that there exist people with fewer advantages than they have, the most advantaged people are continuing to enjoy all of the benefits that come with that status.
As Bovy suggests, when something that should be a basic right for everyone is framed as a privilege that not everyone can have, it's not productive to call out people who have that "privilege," as if it's something no one should have. Instead, the question would be how to ensure everyone's rights are defended.
Bovy is careful to point out that the book isn't a crank piece designed to ridicule people examining questions of privilege. Instead she suggests there have been over reaches; take a step back without a return to earlier obliviousness.
I think this book could serve as a useful tool for moving beyond what can be a stalemate, to start moving the conversations along when considering social inequities.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that the previous book in these series (Swordspoint) is one of my favourite books, one of the ones that I come back to and re-read on a regular basis. It was one of the first books I came across within the SFF genre that had a relationship between two men at the heart of it and, while it's not perfect by any means, I love the whole setting as well.
The Privilege of the Sword is set about 20 years later, so whereas Alec was an itinerant scholar in Swordspoint, here he's now the (Mad) Duke Tremontaine and pretty much free to do whatever he wants because he has both the money and power to do so. In payment for an old debt within the family, Alec decides that his teenage niece will come to the city and train as a duellist. Initially Katherine is resistant, but soon throws herself into the scheme and finds herself also in the middle of intrigue involving both her uncle and others. In particular, one of Katherine's few friends initially accepts a good marriage proposal only to discover that her intended is a scumbag who takes advantage of her naivete, which insult Katherine then takes on herself to avenge.
Overall, I really liked The Privilege of the Sword and, as with the previous book, the world in which it was set - Alec is very much the ruler of Riverside now, someone who everyone looks up to regardless of his supposed craziness. What probably stops me from giving this book 5 stars is the relationship between Alec and Richard, which had been the heart of the previous book, only for Alec to be getting up to all sorts of things with other people. What would have worked better for me would have been if everyone thought Alec was terribly licentious but actually wasn't, because I really felt for Richard - that investment for me in their relationship I have because of my love for Swordspoint meant this was much harder to swallow than might otherwise have been the case.