Elizabeth Moon’s Legacy of Gird is a pair of prequel novels to her Deed of Paksenarrion series. They’re something of an odd pair: the two books have some significant overlap in time, and while the first one is easy to read independently, the second one has framing that happens after Paksenarrion, and makes it partly dependent on that series. I enjoyed both, but they don’t have a lot of the appeal of the original books.

Surrender None is the story of Gird, told from his point of view. It is the story of the peasant rebellion that would establish the grange system and society seen in the later Paks books. Gird is some sort of ill-defined saint/demigod centuries later, but now he is a simple peasant, until the slow squeeze of the lords forces him (and many before him) into outlawry/rebellion.

As such, it is well told, using a very episodic structure. Various subjects and challenges are brought up, and confronted; while the fighting itself is important, it never crowds out the eventual challenge of building a system to replace the one being torn down.

Liar’s Oath overlaps the last section of Surrender None, from the viewpoint of Luap. For the most part. Scattered throughout the book are a few chapters from the viewpoint of two proto-paladins, which also provide most of the action/adventure of novel, with the rest being politics and personal relations. In general, I liked the bulk of the book, but it ends instead of resolving. The framing with post-Oath of Gold Paks (or really, Phelan) becomes a space-time wedgie that cuts off the ending of the book.

This makes it obvious that the point of the book is to explain what was found in the abandoned fortress of Divided Allegiance, which it does, but that also undermines the structure of the book. Liar’s Oath has enough burdens without this, as Luap never comes across well enough to make a good main character, but it is obvious that this is a foundation for the Paladin’s Legacy series (which I will need to get to).