Tarr returns to the Crusades fantasy begun with Queen of Swords (1997). Though crowned in a Christian ritual, Richard the Lionheart scorns being king of pagan Britain. He rides off to the Crusades, and William Longchamps, Bishop of Ely and Chancellor of England, is visited by an angel who tells him he must mend the walls that have been broken between England and the world of magic. Meanwhile, off in Anjou, the young infidel Turk Arslan (“Lion” in Turkish) finds that he is the bastard child of the immortal spirit of fire. A miraculous track through the forest leads Arslan to a blighted castle where a horned king tells him he must go to Britain and help mend the aforesaid broken wall. Able to write French and Latin, Arslan becomes clerk to Bishop Ely. The bisexual being Karim, sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, surrenders herself to Arslan, but back in Paris he must seduce the spirit Melusine to spy on a meetinghouse on the Left Bank. And yet other sorceresses arise with their eye on our harried Turk.
Heavy mist from the ruby heart of swords and sorcery.