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The Black Swanby Mercedes Lackey
Synopses & Reviews
As the only child of a powerful sorcerer, Odile Von Rothbart has studied the magical arts under her father's stern tutelage all her life. Yet she feels only fear toward him. For considering his wife's untimely death the ultimate betrayal, Baron Von Rothbart scours the land in the shape of a great bird of prey. His personal mission is to capture women who arouse his wrath and inspire his rage for vengeance against all womankind. These poor souls he turns into swans — forcing them to spend their lives as beautiful but powerless animals who only regain their human forms briefly each night by the transitory light of the moon.
Yet though Odile is terrified of him, she has learned far more than her father, the baron, intended to teach her — both of the magical arts and of Von Rothbart's idiosyncratic nature. And both as a woman and the guardian of his swan flock, her heart goes out to each and every young maiden ensorcelled by her vindictive father.
And then the noblest of Von Rothbart's enchanted flock, the Princess Odette, finds the courage to confront her captor, wresting from him a pact which could lead to freedom for herself and all the swan-maidens. Knowing Von Rothbart will use all of his magical cunning to avoid honoring this pact, will Odile have the strength to face him in a final magical confrontation which, if she fails, will lead to her death and the murder of all in her flock?
A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic used for good and for evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the incredible duality of human nature, The Black Swan is certain to be recognized as a masterpiece of fantasy.
"Basing her latest fantasy on the tragic ballet Swan Lake, Lackey adds her own embellishments and interpretations to provide the story with a new ending. Though lacking the power and drama of the original tale, this romantic fantasy belongs in most fantasy collections and should appeal to the author's large following." Library Journal
"Mercedes Lackey is very good at building empathic bonds between her characters and the reading audience....In The Black Swan, Lackey also demonstrates an ability to have characters convincingly grow and change. It could be one of her better works...it is a good story that contains many of the best elements that Lackey puts into her works..." Robert Francis, SF Site
"[A] bit of a feminist edge, but for the most part this is a sweet story....The novel is nicely fleshed out, a dramatic and effective fairy tale made large." Locus
"Decorously embroidered and pleasant but, well, feathery." Kirkus Reviews
After his wife's untimely death, a powerful sorcerer dedicates his life to seeking revenge against all womankind. He turns his captives into beautiful swans--who briefly regain human form by the fleeting light of the moon. Only Odette, noblest of the enchanted flock, has the courage to confront her captor. But can she gain the allies she needs to free herself and the other swan-maidens from their magical slavery? A monumental tale of loyalty and betrayal, of magic good and evil, of love both carnal and pure, and of the duality of human nature, The Black Swan is a rich tapestry which is sure to become an all-time masterpiece of fantasy.
About the Author
MERCEDES LACKEY is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds Of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.
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