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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint

The Harp of the Grey Rose: The Legend of Cerin Songweaver by Charles de Lint. New York: Avon Books, 1985. Paperback ISBN: 0-380-76202-1

According to a quick blurb I found via Google, this is de Lint's first novel, long out of print. Not rare, unfortunately, as I found used paperback copies on Amazon for as low as 1 cent (plus shipping, natch).

I was not surprised to learn that this was the author's first published novel. I assumed it was an early work, almost as soon as I began reading it. It is very much in the Tolkien “Middle Earth” style, with elves (here called “erls”), dwarves, and men. There is a supernatural element, and long lived races of seemingly supernatural beings from another plane, or some other level of existence.

Our hero is an untutored harper, orphaned at an early age, and growing up in an obscure agrarian backwater, who finally decides to leave home, and seek his destiny out in the wide world. He meets and rescues a beautiful woman, but she turns out to be an unattainable member of one of these supernatural races, who nevertheless draws him into a conflict with her evil counterpart.

It's a well-told Tolkien-style story, and will be enjoyed by most fantasy fans who enjoy this sort of thing, but it's nothing like de Lint's later style, as I've come to enjoy it, and write about it (see the Fantasy index to this blog for some examples). Definitely de Lint before he found his real voice, his “urban fantasy” voice, set in the fictional city of Newford. Marginally recommended.

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