This is the last book of Bujold's "Gods" contract, finishing the set
containing "Curse of Chalion" and "Paladin of Souls". As Curse
covered the Daughter and Paladin the Bastard, Hallowed Hunt covers the
Son and to some extent the barbarian animal gods beyond civilization.
It's a pity Bujold is unlikely to do books based on the Mother or the
I found the hero, Ingrey, as unappealing as I'd found the heroine of
Paladin for the first chapter or so. Much like Ista, Ingrey wakes up
and changes about 50 pages in. From then on, this has all the craft
and quality I'd expect from Bujold. Out of the usual Vorkosigan
context, some of the artistry is easier to see---there are more
theological fantasy works to compare this against than there are
parallels to the space-opera-free sci-fi that surrounds Miles.
The plot focusses on a few lords of a Scotland-like barbarian kingdom,
conquered and civilized centuries ago. Some of the wild magics of
their shamans still persist and trouble the pseudoChristianized
moderns. Ingrey is a victim of such spells, trying to make it in a
world dominated by the Church as a henchman to the King's Chancellor.
His comfortable scraping-by is interrupted by new curses out of the
past and new victims. One of them's cute, so he gets involved. This
brings him into a web of plots and schemes that would make Simon
Illyan jealous, and which pad out the next 400 pages.
When things finish, we finally understand what sparked the
conspiracies and tied together the intrigues, and the ending leaves
all the characters at the end of their stories, and a few at the
beginning of new stories.
If you like Eddings, you might appreciate the degree to which Bujold
surpasses his theology---though her sense of adventure is never quite
as thrilling as his. If you like Vorkosigan more than Weber's
Harrington, you'll likely enjoy this series. They can be read out of
order almost harmlessly, though some of the nonessential theology is
more clearly explained if read in order.