From a veteran like Harrison, readers expect a well-researched historical fantasy full of challenging speculations about the growth and nature of technology. And that's just what they get in this final volume of the trilogy that also includes Hammer and the Cross and One King's Way. Set in an alternative Dark Ages, it continues the story of Shef, risen in the late 800s to kingship over England, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Shef's religion, the Way, which involves a worship of Norse gods, is gaining ascendance over Christianity. Meanwhile, his support for ""new knowledge, or old knowledge recognized"" illuminates the Dark Ages with developments such as paper, arithmetic, distilled alcohol, advanced armaments and even manned flight. The plot depicts war and political intrigue among Shef, the Greek Emperor Basil I, the Roman emperor, the Caliph of Cordova and the heretic Cathas, who may hold the secret of the Holy Grail. Supernatural forces seem to be involved in the play of events; the entertaining, intelligent play of the novel, however, stems from Harrison's natural talent, as evident here as in his first novel, Deathworld, published 36 years ago. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996 Release date: 07/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 467 pages - 978-0-8125-3646-1
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