Sunday, September 21, 2008

Three Hearts and Three Lions - Poul Anderson

Holger the hero.

Is transported from a World War II battle straight to a world where he becomes a sort of Arthurian champion of Law.

However, this resembles Moorcock or Elric completely not at all given it is full of unicorns and knights and trolls, and annoying personifications of Morgan Le Fay, etc.

Pretty light fantasy, not anywhere near such aforementioned sword and sorcery stuff.

e.g. "He glimpsed the beautiful white beast flitting between the trees. A stray wisp of ivy had caught on its horn. Wait. He peered through the half-light. Didn’t someone walk beside it?

Meriven tensed pantherishly. “If we steal close—” she whispered. Her horse moved forward, hoofs noiseless on the turf.

The unicorn stopped, looked back at them, and was away, a shining shadow rapidly lost to sight. Meriven swore with unladylike imaginativeness. Holger said nothing, because he had seen what accompanied the animal. For one moment he had locked eyes with Alianora. Now she was also gone."

Not to mention the odd damsel:
"The girl turned her head. Holger saw how the blush stained her face and bosom. Still more acutely was he aware of her young curves. within the swan tunic, of great gray eyes and soft lips and fluttering hands. “Nay,” she whispered. “I dinna know what ye means, Sir Carahue.”

Then the annoying Arthurians :

"“Well, we of the gentler sex must be permitted a little fancifulness, must we not, my sweet?” She patted his cheek. “It’s God’s truth that I have come to win you back.”

“Win me back to Chaos!” he blustered.

“And why not? What is there about dull Law that drives you to defend it? See, I am honest with you; now do you be honest with yourself. Why, Holger, my darling bear, you’re but bulwarking loutish peasants and fat-gutted burghers, when the mirth and thunder and blazing stars of Chaos could be yours. When were you ever one for a safe and narrow life, locked in its own smugness, roofed with a sour gray sky, stinking of smoke and dung—you who drove armies from the field? You could hurl suns and shape worlds if you chose!”

3 out of 5

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