KING AND EMPEROR by Harry Harrison

KING AND EMPEROR

Vol. III, The Hammer and the Cross

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The conclusion of Harrison's rousing, pulsating alternate- history trilogy (The Hammer and the Cross, 1993; One King's Way, 1995). One-eyed King Shef, master of England and Scandinavia, backed by the tolerant, inquisitive religious philosophers of the Way, now proposes to tackle three vastly greater and more powerful empires: Moorish Spain, Byzantium, and the Holy Roman Empire. The Moors are wealthy and learned but constantly at war with Roman Emperor Bruno, who carries the Holy spear and considers himself invulnerable; the Byzants, allied with Bruno, have a matchless navy. Bruno also covets the Holy Grail--actually the wooden ladder by which Christ was brought down from the cross--which he suspects has been hidden in a castle by a sect of heretics. Restless, curious, often touched by the Norse gods, Shef is warned by his patron deity, Rig, that Loki the fire-god has escaped his chains and that Ragnarok--the Viking Armageddon--approaches. But can Shef's small fleet, even though it's maneuverable and armed with catapults, defeat the terrifying Greek fire of the Byzantine navy? Can his fearless Viking warriors and canny English crossbowmen beat back Bruno's armored knights and the moorish hordes? Harrison, by way of thrilling battles and speculation informed by a wealth of historical detail, provides spellbinding and satisfying answers. A rip-roaring culmination to a magnificent trilogy. If you haven't yet made the acquaintance of this series, get the first volume and do so at once.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-85692-X
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1996




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