cover image Who's Afraid of Beowulf?

Who's Afraid of Beowulf?

Tom Holt. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (206pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02669-1

Part slapstick, part fantasy, this tale of a Viking king and his band of 12 warriors coming back to life in 20th century Scotland is all entertainment. Hrolf Earthstar was engaged in battle with a wicked sorcerer-king when his wizard advised him to take his band undergroundliterally. Twelve hundred years later, young archeologist Hildy Frederiksen enters their burial mound and wakens the men to all sorts of modern mischief. Hrolf's ancient enemy is now the head of a multinational corporation, where technological advances are just another twist on the old sorcerer's magic. Hrolf, his wizard and Hildy stalk the sorcerer-king and his henchman, a former timber wolf, in London, while the others clash with modern culture in the Highlands, and the wizard's two energy-eating ``chthonic spirits'' discover the delights of electricity and nuclear power. With a varied and memorable cast of charactersancient and modernHolt ( Expecting Someone Taller ) keeps the one-liners coming fast and furious. Unforced and inventive, his wit will especially delight lovers of Edda and other sagas. (Jan.)