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Literature / A Harvest of War

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A Harvest of War is a 2015 Low Fantasy novel by Bogdan Rafael.

Set in its own Constructed World, it follows a trade harbour's attempts to deal with its feudal overlord, Queen Rhona Thyll, who demands an exorbitant war tax as an excuse to sack the city, named Draeze. Since the citizens are mostly pacifists and/or have no idea how to defend themselves they have to send out letters (the tech level is early Renaissance) to friends abroad to come help defend Draeze or intimidate the queen. Prominent among these is another Rhona, a gigantic member of a race called the Wilds with a temper to match.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: A dime a dozen, including the main characters, but Guinevere Thyll is an action girl among action girls and even more of a Memetic Badass in-universe than her cousin the queen. This is all considered perfectly normal for the most part.
  • Actual Pacifist: Ayan. Her only contribution in combat is to put out the fires on a man who gets an incendiary bomb to the head and lead him to safety.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Alesians, natives of the region just to the east of Draeze, seem to be this, being clearly the most vicious Thyll Mooks. They are infamous for their banditry and even some of their allies are disgusted by them.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Wild Rhona with her daughter Brianna.
  • Badass Bookworm / Most Writers Are Writers: Wild Rhona, the protagonist, has written several books including a history anthology from which the book's opening quote is supposedly lifted. Other Wilds are shown reading in their leisure time.
  • Badass Family: Tadhg and Rhona; Guinevere and the other Rhona; the Bors family.
  • Badass Pacifist: Ayan, for the natural ease with which she commands the respect of violent people who could tear her apart with minimal effort.
  • BFS: Downplayed. Wild Rhona's weapon is a realistically-sized zweihander, complete with a ricasso and an extra set of parrying hooks for half-swording. Her height and strength allows her to fence with it one-handed.
  • Berserk Button: Several cases.
    • Touching a Wild's food is a good way to commit suicide.
      • Don't even touch your Wild friend's food without their permission unless you want to be yelled at.
    • For Wild Rhona, slavers and slave overseers. To a much lesser extent, knights.
    • Queen Thyll has a bunch:
      • Don't take it too far when questioning her judgment. You don't have to be a Yes-Man but know when to STOP.
      • The word "economy".
      • Any implication that she's not a contender for World's Most Beautiful Woman.
    • Downplayed Trope with Ayan: Cussing will get her most violent reaction to anything: shouting.
  • The Berserker: Wild Rhona claims to be able to enter a berserkergäng without drugs. She doesn't seem to need it.
  • Big Good / Supporting Leader: Raghnall Bors. Later replaced by Egil.
  • Brawn Hilda: The main character is huge, scarred and wrinkled. She used to be an Amazonian Beauty and still draws some Male Gaze during her Shirtless Scene.
  • The Big Guy: Baindur, the Ambadassador of a foreign power in Draeze. Not the tallest, but certainly the heaviest character with any sort of role in the story.
  • The Brute: Rare protagonist example: Wild Rhona is lighter than Baindur, but she's stronger and more vicious. They're on the same side too.
  • Blood Knight: Wild Rhona can't wait to start fighting. In fact, she doesn't, even invoking the trope in her dialogue, though not by name.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Rhona Thyll more or less describes herself as a terrorist and her cousin Guinevere is OK with being called evil though she won't tolerate "criminal".
  • Combat Pragmatist: Just about everyone; slipping away from this generally costs a character their life or at least a serious injury.
  • Da Chief: Cynetryth Payne, of the Draeze Provosts (Police, fire brigade, closest thing to a military). She also tries to be a By-the-Book Cop.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Wild Rhona and one-scene character Sapphire Culpepper swear a lot more than the other characters and are the only ones who use Country Matters.
  • Lightning Bruiser: For their respective sizes, Wild Rhona is very fast and Guinevere Thyll is extremely strong.
  • Screaming Warrior: Wild Rhona is fond of shouting and singing (badly) in battle.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: Unrealistic for the separate human race and dubious psychology. Would be completely mundane otherwise.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Owen Thyll, the queen's son and heir. So much so that his mother discards his life without a second thought.
  • The Spartan Way: Wilds are literate, have access to and understand technology. Wild Rhona is a writer/historian and other Wilds are strongly implied to be blacksmiths. They choose to live in woods as hunter-gatherers and seem to teach their children to be independent in terms of survival requirements at a very young age.
  • Superior Species: Downplayed with the Wilds. They seem to be on par intellectually with normal humans but physically stronger and especially tougher.