Tuesday, January 31, 2012


by Matthew J. Kirby

Grade: 4 stars (maybe 3 1/2?)
Story: Solveig, her crown-prince brother and beautiful sister, a bunch of berserkers and warriors, and a skald (equivalent of a bard) are trapped in a fortress, awaiting the end of winter and her father's return from war. But they are running out of food, there is a traitor in their midst, and Solveig is having disturbing and prophetic dreams.

Review: Beautifully written and crafted. My story description doesn't really do it justice.
And the cover is lovely. (Unfortunately, that really does actually count for something when it comes to books.)

I am always slightly wary of stories that talk about the nature of stories. They always seem to tread perilously close to idea about relative truth. (I'm thinking particularly of Neil Gaiman here, but he isn't the best example. There are others, I just can't think of them right now.) And yet I do think there is much to these philosophical discussions which that kind of book gets into. Someday, I must have a vigorous discussion with someone orthodox and much more intelligent than me, concerning relative truth, parables, the first book of Genesis, and the Word. But for the present, I must be content with a general feeling of unease with certain books.
But not this book. At first I thought it was like the others, but it turns out it was far better than all of them due to the way the ideas about storytelling developed. I'm not going to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but Alric's "story" at the end, and what he says there is a good example of this.

And I half guess the identity of the traitor! It reminded me of a particular Agatha Christie story which I'm not going to name, due again to spoilers.

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