An epic fantasy marked by passionate prose and courageous characters.

WINTERHUED

In this debut novel, a princess’s life changes after a dragon attacks her castle.

The land of Manydown lies between the sea and Iron Crag mountain. In Castle Lawhill, Princess Winterhued is beloved by the people of her kingdom, but she’s a lonely, restless soul. Her father, King Gers, is a fatuous gourmand who leaves the intellectual portions of his rule to his daughter. Winterhued, who loved someone once in her youth, wonders if she’s now too old to find a worthy match. One morning, after she has another dream about malevolent wings beating from above, she bathes with the assistance of Lady Ulidia. When Eudora, a young scullery maid, spills a bucket of water, Ulidia scolds her, but later Winterhued shows the maid kindness by giving her oranges. The girl, overawed in the princess’s chambers, takes the opportunity to secretly snatch a moonstone necklace. This brazen act is quickly overshadowed by a sudden attack by a vast, winged beast, which turns much of Castle Lawhill to flaming rubble. The dragon then takes up residence in the castle’s keep. The king seeks a knight to slay the beast, planning to offer Winterhued’s hand in marriage as a reward. Meanwhile, an errant knight—who already has a connection to the princess—and his squire roam the lands just below Iron Crag, and they’re watched by what may be the last living unicorn. In her debut, Alger evokes dreamy classics, such as Lord Dunsany’s 1924 novel, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, while blessing her characters with a modern wit that lets them stand beside figures created by Neil Gaiman. Fantasy fans will consistently enjoy the lyrical prose, as in the line, “[The wings] washed at the verges of her mind like twilit waves upon a strand, leaving at their ebb a scum of fear.” The dragon, which seems impossible to see clearly due to its ferocity, provides a chaotic backdrop against which secondary players, such as Stench, a young dung-scooper, perform heroic deeds. The unicorn, meanwhile, is used as a subtle metaphor for being lost or being denied one’s true path.

An epic fantasy marked by passionate prose and courageous characters.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-648-17250-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Windship Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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