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Book Info

  • Release Date: Sep 01, 2015
  • Pages: 432
  • ISBN: 978-0451417350

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The Desert and the Blade
A Novel of the Change

Sequel to The Golden Princess. Crown Princess Órlaith of Montival and the new Empress Reiko of Japan and a small band of followers have set out to recover Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass-Cutting Sword, a sacred symbol of the Japanese dynasty, that will help in the coming battles against powers that are not sympathetic to humans and human concerns.


To Harry Turtledove, for the loan of Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers, with which he did things so intriguing I had to play with his toys. And very useful they turned out to be!

 Thanks to Kier Salmon, unindicted co-conspirator, who has been my advisor and helper on the Change since the first. This was a big complex book and she helped immensely.

To Gina Tacconi-Moore, my niece, flower-girl at my wedding twenty-seven years ago, Queen of Physical Fitness and owner of CrossFit Lowell, who gave me some precise data on what a really fit young woman, such as herself, could do.

To Steve Brady, native guide to Alba, for assistance with dialects and British background, and also natural history of all sorts.

Pete Sartucci, knowledgeable in many aspects of Western geography and ecology, including the Mojave and Topanga, and convincing me that one scene went on too long and pointing out an embarrassingly large distance I hadn’t noticed.

To Miho Lipton and Chris Hinkle, for help with Japanese idiom; and to Stuart Drucker, for assistance with Hebrew.

Diana L. Paxson, for help and advice, and for writing the beautiful ‘Westria’ books, among many others. If you liked the Change novels, you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of the Westria books—I certainly did, and they were one of the inspirations for this series; and her “Essential Asatru” and recommendation of “Our Troth” were extremely helpful… and fascinating reading. The appearance of the name Westria in the book is no coincidence whatsoever. And many thanks for the loan of Deor Wide-Faring and Thora Garwood.

To Dale Price, help with Catholic organization, theology and praxis.

To John Birmingham, aka that silver-tongued old rogue, King Birmo of Capricornia, most republican of monarchs.

To Cara Shulz, for help with Hellenic bits, including stuff I could not have found on my own.

To: Walter Jon Williams, John Miller, Vic Milan, Jan Stirling, Matt Reiten, Lauren Teffeau, and Shirl Sayzinski of Critical Mass, for constant help and advice as the book was under construction.

Thanks to John Miller, good friend, writer and scholar, for many useful discussions, for loaning me some great books, and for some really, really cool old movies.

Special thanks to Heather Alexander, bard and balladeer, for permission to use the lyrics from her beautiful songs which can be—and should be!—ordered at Run, do not walk, to do so.

To Alexander James Adams, for cool music, likewise.

Thanks again to William Pint and Felicia Dale, for permission to use their music, which can be found at and should be, for anyone with an ear and salt-water in their veins.

And to Three Weird Sisters—Gwen Knighton, Mary Crowell, Brenda Sutton, and Teresa Powell—whose alternately funny and beautiful music can be found at

And to Heather Dale for permission to quote the lyrics of her songs, whose beautiful (and strangely appropriate!) music can be found at, and is highly recommended. The lyrics are wonderful and the tunes make it even better.

To S.J. Tucker for permission to use the lyrics of her beautiful songs, which can be found at, and should be.

And to Lael Whitehead of Jaiya,, for permission to quote the lyrics of her beautiful songs.

Thanks again to Russell Galen, my agent, who has been an invaluable help, advisor and friend for a decade now, and never more than in these difficult times.

All mistakes, infelicities and errors are of course my own.


To Jan, forever

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