cover image Thessalonica


Harry Turtledove. Baen Books, $5.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-671-87761-3

Hugo nominee Turtledove (Prince of the North) blends religion, history and fantasy in this adventurous tale told from the point of view of George, a simple shoemaker who lives in Thessalonica in the 7th century A.D. George is a Christian, as are most of the city's residents, but remnants of the old pagan religion and its creatures are known to still exist in the hills. George happens upon a satyr, who warns him of a new danger approaching. The danger turns out to be the invading Avars and Slavs, who have at their command supernatural wolves and bats. Within days the city is surrounded, and though the strength of their Christian God enables the population to keep the warriors at bay, George realizes they may need help to defeat their enemy. With the help of the pious Priest Luke, George convinces the satyrs and centaurs to come to the aide of Thessalonica. Fans of historical fantasy will relish Turtledove's offering and its unlikely hero. (Jan.)