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Veteran pro Anderson (The Fleet of Stars, p. 26, etc.) offers a Dark Age saga based on Old Scandinavian mythology and the exploits of the legendary Danish King Hadding (cf. Bernard King's Starkadder, 1989). Following a disastrous war of the gods between the Aesir and the Vanir, the Vanir Njord becomes an implacable foe of the Aesir and their chief, Odin. So Odin arranges for Njord's avatar to be born in the world of men as Hadding, son of King Gram Skjoldung of Denmark. To ensure his safety, young Hadding is sent to live with a family of jotuns, or giants. Meanwhile, Svipdag, King of Geatland and Svithjod (Sweden), invades Denmark and kills Gram. Later, helped by a disguised Odin, Hadding overcomes Svipdag, but the latter's son Uffi retains control of Geatland and Svithjod, and the blood feud between them drags on for years. Eventually, after many further adventures, Hadding will relinquish his kingdom to his hotheaded children and give himself to Odin, thereby ending the dispute among the gods. Anderson writes in a modern Anglo- Saxon, full of words that long ago vanished from English; and if readers are sent scurrying to consult dictionaries and encyclopedias--so much the better. A brilliantly accomplished yarn that smolders bravely without quite catching fire. --Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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ISBN-10:  0312863152
ISBN-13:  978-0312863159
Author:  Poul Anderson
Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher:  Tor Books
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review by . February 15, 1998
The text begins interestingly enough, albeit somewhat ponderously, as Poul Anderson, one of the greats of Science Fiction & Fantasy, essays once more to travel the mist-shrouded roads of Faery. Writing at least since the fifties (I enjoyed his stuff going back to the sixties), Anderson's "voice" seems to have mellowed and subtly altered with the passing of the years. Never one of the most moving or most profound of tale spinners, he was always, nevertheless, the consummate storyteller. Still this …
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