A novel in two volumes,The Wizard Knight is in the rare company of those works which move past the surface of fantasy and drink from the wellspring of myth. Magic swords, dragons, giants, quests, love, honor, nobility-all the familiar features of fantasy come to fresh life in this masterful work. The first half of the journey, The Knight -- which you are advised to read first, to let the whole story engulf you from the beginning -- took a teenage boy from America into Mythgarthr, the middle realm of seven fantastic worlds. Above are the gods of Skai; below are the capricious Aelf, and more dangerous things still. Journeying throughout Mythgarthr, Able gains a new brother, an Aelf queen lover, a supernatural hound, and the desire to prove his honor and become the noble knight he always knew he would be. Coming into Jotunland, home of the Frost Giants, Able -- now Sir Able of the High Heart --claims the great sword Eterne from the dragon who has it. In reward, he is ushered into the castle of the Valfather, king of all the Gods of Skai. Thus begins the second part of his quest. The Wizard begins with Able's return to Mythgathr on his steed Cloud, a great mare the color of her name. Able is filled with new knowledge of the ways of the seven-fold world and possessed of great magical secrets. His knighthood now beyond question, Able works to fulfill his vows to his king, his lover, his friends, his gods, and even his enemies. Able must set his world right, restoring the proper order among the denizens of all the seven worlds. The Wizard is a charming, riveting, emotionally charged tale of wonders, written with all the beauty one would expect from a writer whom Damon Knight called """"a national treasure."""" If you've never sampled the works of the man Michael Swanwick described as """"the greatest writer in the English language alive today,"""" the two volumes of The Wizard Knight are the perfect place to start. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Starred Review. The teenage boy who wandered into another set of realities in Wolfe's The Knight has attained his ambition of knighthood. Now, as Sir Able of the High Heart, he returns in this sequel riding a steed that's not a horse, wielding his magic sword and bound by oath not to use his new otherworldly powers. Such a summary is like saying a spoonful of tap water constitutes the whole of all oceans. Wolfe's words wash over the reader with transparent grace and charming playfulness as he spins his profoundly imaginative, metaphysically complex, yet ever-entertaining tale with astonishing naturalness. In trademark Wolfian fashion, the memory-altered protagonist acts as narrator, telling the truth whenever possible and to the full extent of his own understanding. This second volume satisfactorily supplies many answers to the riddles and allusions of its tantalizing predecessor, but posits new mysteries as well. The novel stands alone and might even be best if read before The Knight, but will surely drive readers to the first as well. The conclusion hints at possible further adventures. Outstanding fantasy these days is often convincingly and compellingly anti-Tolkien, but Wolfe proves one can tell an epic, myth-based story of honor, loyalty, courage and faith relevant to our own dark times. This is fantasy at its best: revelatory and inspirational.
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September 20, 2005
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