Cover image for The sword maiden
The sword maiden
King, Susan, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Signet, 2001.
Physical Description:
340 pages ; 18 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Library

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The brutal murder of a female lieutenant has shocked the men and women of a Untied States military base in Georgia. Assigned to investigate, a female major, the top lawyer in the judge advocate general's office, discovers secrets about the men and women of the base. But the most dangerous revelation is yet to come...

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Harassment of women in the military is much discussed in the press these days. In showing up that problemfor what it is, Truscott, author of two previous best-sellers, Dress Gray (1979) and Army Blue (1989), offers a much more gracefully written and affecting novel than its predecessors. Major Lara Guidry, an army lawyer, is called on to investigate the murder of another female officer. As it turns out, this is no simple, straightforward murder inquiry (and for the sake of good reading, do we really want it to be simple and straightforward?). Circumstances in the case are entangled with those of a power struggle between rival generals for appointment to chief of staff. In the meantime, another murder takes place, and Captain Randy Taylor is charged with both slayings. Captain Taylor's involvement adds another wrinkle to the proceedings; Randy is gay and his alibi would leave his sexual orientation open to exposure in the "don't ask, don't tell" environment of the military. Riveting courtroom exchanges conclude this sensitive novel that will undoubtedly fulfill its destiny as a miniseries. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a savagely entertaining thriller about today's Army, Truscott (Dress Gray; Army Blue) hits most of today's hot buttons‘e.g., don't ask/don't tell, women in command positions, fraternization between officers and enlisted men‘as he punches out a murder mystery that leads to a riveting courtroom showdown. When Second Lt. Sheila Worthy is found dead of a knife wound in a car caught in a raging flood, Major Kara Guidry is assigned to investigate and soon discovers that Worthy was having an affair with General William Beckwith, who is openly campaigning for Chief of Staff. What makes Guidry's subsequent diggings so gripping is that everybody involved in the case has something to hide, and those in the know use their knowledge as weapons. Beckwith's wife seems to know all about his affairs; Beckwith's aide Randy Taylor is secretly gay and is approached by other gay officers to spy on his boss; and even Guidry herself has a secret: her forbidden affair with Sergeant Mace Nukanen. With its brilliantly depicted scenes of politicking and blackmailing, the novel at times seems like a high-stakes poker game in which everyone holds a winning hole card. The only flaw is minor, a final courtroom scene that's played at the same blistering pace as the rest of the novel, making it feel rushed rather than climactic. Otherwise, Truscott's latest wins a thriller Medal of Honor. Literary Guild selection; film rights to Jaffe Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Author of previous military thrillers such as Army Blue (LJ 8/89), Truscott now offers a thriller that is difficult to put down. The protagonist is Maj. Kara Guldry, a lawyer and West Point graduate who is assigned to investigate the murder of a of Lt. Sheila Worthy. Kara soon discovers that the young woman's lover was none other than General Beckwith, the base commander. After her friend, Lannie Love, another Beckwith mistress, is stabbed in a similar manner, Kara is convinced that Beckwith is the key to the murders. The characters are well drawn and realistic, and the author's inside knowledge of army jargon and procedure gives the novel a sense of authenticity. The significant issues of army politics, prejudice against women and homosexuals in the military, and the unfairness of regulations forbidding fraternization between officers and enlisted men and women are all explored. Although the mystery aficionado will guess the murderer's identity about three quarters of the way though, the proceedings are engrossing enough to keep readers going to the end. Highly recommended.‘Jacqueline Seewald, Red Bank Regional H.S., Little Silver, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.