Driven by prophetic dreams, the Viking warrior Shef as become the One King, the undisputed ruler of the North. Now he must face the reborn power of the Holy Roman Empire. Rome threatens Shef's fearsome Viking navy with a new invention of unparalleled destruction: Greek fire. Unable to defend his fleet against this awesome weapon, Shef travels East in search of new wisdom. His quest leads him to the lavish court of the Muslim Caliph and, ultimately, to the secret hiding place of the Holy Grail. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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June 14, 1997
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