by Elizabeth Moon
New York: Baen Books, 1989.
As the third book in a trilogy, my review for this book necessarily has **spoilers** for the first two books. See my reviews of Sheepfarmer's Daughter (book 1) and Divided Allegiance (book 2).
After her capture by iynisin and subsequent debilitating fear, Paks has been wandering for some time when she finds herself back at Brewersbridge. Not sure where to go, she seeks refuge with the Kuakgan. Can he heal her where Marshals of Gird failed? Can she be used for good in the land if courage fails her?
In many ways, the story begun in Sheepfarmer's Daughter comes full circle in Oath of Gold. One of my worries reading the first two books was that the episodic style made it hard to see the overarching storyline, but this story ties up plot lines while bringing to light in the importance of earlier events in the larger scheme of things. Despite the battle scenes in the first book, this book had more disturbingly violent moments for me, sending me skimming through some passages. I had a moment, about 50 pages or so in the middle, where I got a little bored because someone's true identity was clear to me before it was to Paks, and even then it was a major plot point that made me wonder what could happen for the next 200 pages to keep my interest. But that was a bump in a generally enjoyable ride. Paks' character truly develops over the course of this novel, and it was fun to see her progression not only in this one book but in the trilogy as a whole.