Blending characters historical and mythological, science fiction and fantasy grandmaster Poul Anderson has crafted a novel of magic, mystery and the might of ancient nations to rival Marian Zimmer Bradley'sThe Mists of Avalon.In the tenth century, during the violent end of the Age of the Vikings, Gunhild, the daughter of a Norse Chieftan, is sent away to learn the magic of a pair of Shamans. She learns her lessons well, and uses her power to summon her hearts desire, Eirlik Blood-Ax. Gunhild's magic is a powerful compliment to Eirik's strength, but it is not enough to save him from death at the hands of his vicious rivals. Still, the sons they had will each become kings, and Gunhild's own struggles are far from over. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
January 01, 2003
Number of Print Pages*
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Mother of Kings by Poul Anderson
1 nbsp; nbsp; Wind snarled and skirled. Smoke from the longfire eddied bitter on its way upward, hazing lamps throughout the hall. Shadows flickered. They seemed to bring the carvings on pillars and wainscots to uneasy life. Nightfall came fast at the end of these shortening days. Soon there would be nothing but night. “Go find the knife before high tide bears it off,” Father told Seija. “It’s a good blade. I’d hate to lose it.” “I—maybe no can,” she said in her broken Norse. Father grinned. “You can try. Don’t you Finns have witch-sight?” Already his mood was better. He had cuffed the thrall who forgetfully left the tool behind at sunset after having cleaned some fish down by the water. With kicks he had sent the wretch stumbling toward the byre, where bondsmen slept among cows. That cooled his wrath. “I try,” Seija muttered. She could ill say no, a mere woods-runner lately brought to Ulfgard for Father to bed. Nonetheless, new and strange, she had caught Gunnhild’s eager heed. “I’ll go too!” the girl cried. Mother half rose from the high seat she shared with Father. “You will not,” she answered. “A child of seven winters? A granddaughter of Rögnvald Jarl, trotting after a Finn? Hush your witlessness.” “I would know better,” said brother Eyvind loftily. “Unless, of course, a foe was upon us.” Gunnhild stamped her foot on the clay floor. “I will; I will.” özur grinned anew, wryly now. It’s not worth a fight, as headstrong as you are,” he deemed. “Take a warm cloak and keep dry, or I shall be angry. Yngvar, watch her.” The man nodded and went for his own cloak and a spear. Kraka leaned back with a sigh. She was a haughty one, whose husband mostly let her do what she wanted to, but she had learned not to gainsay him. The three passed through entryroom and door. Gunnhild stopped on the flagstones. Wind yelled. Astounded, she let go of her woolen mantle. It flapped back like wings. “O-o-oh,” she breathed. The sky was a storm of northlights. They shuddered and billowed, huge frost-cold banners and sails, whiteness streaked with ice blue, flame red, cat’s-eye green. Their silence scorned every noise of earth. A few stars glimmered low and lonely southward. Seija stretched forth an arm from her wrap. Her fingers writhed. Through the wind Gunnhild heard her sing, a high wailing in her unknown tongue. “What’s that?” asked the girl. Chill bit. She gathered her garb close. “I make safe. Ghosts dance. Many strong ghosts.” Gunnhild had seen northlights before, though none like these. “I heard—Father told us—it’s the watchfires of the gods.” “Troll-fires,Ithink,” growled Yngvar. He drew the sign of the Hammer. Seija stilled her spellcraft and led the way down the path from the hall and its outbuildings. While no moon was aloft, one could see almost clearly. They reached the strand. The woman walked to and fro, hunched, head bent so that the cowl made her faceless, casting about. Maybe she whispered. Tide had washed away the fish guts and scales that would have helped. Only a narrow stretch of cobbles was left, sheening wet. Kelp sprawled in swart heaps and ropes. The wind scattered its sharp smell. Gunnhild stayed beside Yngvar. Awe rolled over her. Behind, the bank lifted steeply to where the roof of the hall loomed black, with ridges and crests hoar beyond. On her right the wharf jutted alongside the ship-house, two darknesses. Nighted likewise were the heights ac