Synopses & Reviews
(Starred Review) In Freer's superior heroic fantasy novel, set in 16th-century Scandinavia, allies of a demon try to thwart Christian missionary-magicians from the Holy Roman Empire. Freer (The Forlorn
) wisely concentrates on individual participants within this big struggle: a shipwrecked Barbary corsair, Cair Aidin, branded as a worthless thrall; a good-hearted but insecure princess; a spectacularly evil troll hag and her grendel son; and a team led by the Holy Roman emperor's nephew/secret agent. All these characters are credibly smart and quirky. Cair, for example, is a clever contriver of mechanical devices, so he stoutly refuses to believe in any of the magic taking place around him. When a sacred pagan token disappears and the princess is framed for its theft, the skeptical Cair pursues her out of love while agents of the Empire follow out of dutyinto the clutches of the troll mother. Freer's people are sometimes mistaken and often stubborn but basically likable; he even presents them convincingly enough to get away with some outright sentimentality. Good characterization, ripsnorting action and an ingenious plot make this a feast for sword and sorcery fans. Publishers Weekly
In an alternate universe ruled by magic in which the Holy Roman Empire controls Europe, a sacred relic, the Armring of Telmark, is stolen from Odin's temple in a pagan Norway, a theft that could ignite a bloody war with the Empire, unless Corsair-Captain Cair, aided by Prince Manfred of Brittany, can find the missing treasure and rescue Signy, the stepsister of King Vortenbras. Reprint.
About the Author
Dave Freer is an Ichthyologist turned author because he'd heard that the spelling requirements were simpler. They lied about that. He lives in a remote part of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with his wife and chief proof-reader, Barbara, four dogs and four cats, two sons (Paddy and James) and just at the moment no shrews, birds, bats or any other rescued wildlife. His first bookThe Forlorn
(Baen)came out in 1999. Since then he has co-authored with Eric Flint (Rats, Bats and Vats
, Pyramid Scheme
, and The Rats, the Bats and the Ugly
) and, with Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint (The Shadow of the Lion
, This Rough Magic
, The Wizard of Karres
) as well as writing various shorter works. Besides working as a Fisheries Scientist for the Western Cape shark fishery, running a couple of fish farms, he has worked as a commercial diver, and as a relief chef at several luxury game lodges. Yes: he can both cook and change diapers. (No man ever really gets tired of danger sports.) He spent two years as a conscripted soldier along the way, so he can iron too. His interests are rock climbing (he's still good at it), diving, flyfishing (he's still bad at it), fly-tying, wine-tasting and the preparation of food, especially by traditional meanssmoking and salting, all the good unhealthy things.