SO I FINISHED THE JOEL ROSENBERG NOVEL that I mentioned last week, and it’s very good. I’m reading the sequel now, in my copious spare time, and it’s good too.

UPDATE: In an interesting confluence of reactions, some readers are turned off by the garish cover, while others who have read it say the book’s got too much talk and internal dialogue.

As to the first — dumb, garish covers are for some reason de rigeur in fantasy and science fiction. They seldom have anything to do with the story; I don’t know why this is.

As to the second: These books are a departure from Rosenberg’s traditional light fantasy. The “paladins” carry magic swords believed to damn the souls of those who use them, but do so anyway out of loyalty to King and country. They are not untroubled by this situation, and Rosenberg uses it to explore the moral dimensions of duty, patriotism, and religion. I think it’s interesting and well-done; those expecting something more like his earlier work will be disappointed.