cute girl with a bone knife hanging from a cord around her neck. fireflies all around herFirst volume in a new fantasy series from Bujold. The setting is an agrarian society of Farmers who are protected from some scary nasty evil creatures by a parallel society of patrolling gypsy-like Lakewalkers.

We first meet Fawn, a smart if ignorant Farmer girl with an insatiable curiosity who has run away from home we know not why. Next appears Dag, an experienced older Lakewalker who lost his left hand in some long-ago encounter.

Pretty much anything I say from here on is a spoiler, but the plot is so transparent that the book is almost self-spoiling. Yet Bujold is so good at making you fall in love with her characters that having the story be fairly predictable just lets you relax and enjoy their company. In addition to the lovable characters she has also invented a magic system and a setting with enough backstory that I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with them in the next volume.