Next up: “Knight’s Wyrd” by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
How about that cover, eh? Makes it look like a horror story. It’s not, really, it’s more a sword-and-sorcery/Arthurian knight story.
This is an older book, published in the early 90s, and I don’t think it’s in print anymore, but at last check it’s still available for pretty cheap on Amazon Marketplace.
Right before he is to be knighted, Will Odosson receives his wyrd, his destiny: He will never take his over his father’s barony and he will meet death before the year is over. A prophesy that any would meet with trepidation. Will copes with it pretty well, all things considered. He is properly horrified by his impending death, yes, but he also does not let it stop him from doing his duty. Will is knighted, and then follows the tourneys as they travel north. While he does, he takes the opportunity to visit his betrothed– to break their betrothal, in fact, because he believes it cruel to hold her to the agreement when he is fated to die. However, before he can do so, the Lady vanishes. Will pledges his help to find her, little knowing that the search would thrust him into a battle of monsters and magic, and quite possibly speed him to his fate.
This is a book of two parts– the first part is full of political plots and intrigue. The second is full of magic and monsters. Both are interesting in their own way, though some might find the beginning a little slow– there is some fighting, little skirmishes between Will and outlaws or tourney matches with other knights, but they aren’t grand or dramatic. Later on, there are greater battles, against ogres and other supernatural things.
The prophesy hanging over Will’s head adds a tension throughout the book, a question of whether Will is going to survive everything that is happening. It’s a very old storytelling technique that we see a lot in Greek tragedies and in Shakespeare’s tragedies, too. It’s well-executed. I also liked the use of a number of old folk/fairy tale themes in the book, which inform a lot of the supernatural and magical portions of the book.
And can I just say that I appreciate the ending? So glad they didn’t do the cliche thing and instead kept true to the characters’ personalities as they’d been established throughout the book.