- Copertina flessibile: 442 pagine
- Editore: Perkunas Press (10 ottobre 2012)
- Collana: The Hounds of Annwn
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 0963538403
- ISBN-13: 978-0963538406
- Peso di spedizione: 522 g
To Carry the Horn: Volume 1 (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 10 ott 2012
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Karen Myers is the author of the best-selling novel To Carry the Horn, the first entry in the series The Hounds of Annwn, a contemporary Wild Hunt fantasy set in a fae otherworld version of the Virginia Piedmont. She is currently working on a new fantasy series, The Affinities of Magic, following a young wizard who launches an industrial revolution of magic. More information is available at Perkunas Press.
A graduate of Yale University from Kansas City, Karen has lived with her husband, David Zincavage, in Connecticut, New York, Chicago, California, and more recently in the lovely foxhunting country of Virginia where they followed the activities of the Blue Ridge Hunt, the Old Dominion Hounds, the Ashland Bassets, and the Wolver Beagles.
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Myers draws on her personal enthusiastic participation in foxhunting with the hounds in Northern Virginia, as well as a photographer's eye, a talent for fiddling, a familiarity with the Welsh language, a knowledge of heraldic weaponry and combat, and much more.
Annwn is a land of court, castle, village, and the hunt, arrested -- by choice -- at the lantern stage of technology. Gunpowder does not explode there, so the weapons are limited to blades and bows. Its rulers are the tall, handsome, long-lived Fae, who have the talent of "glamor" (projecting an image to disguise one's identity) and who have sympathy with animals to the point of telepathy. The Lutins, smaller of stature but with great hearts, are craftsmen. Unlike Narnia, with its understructure of Christian ideas and symbols (notably Aslan the Lion) -- Annwn's god is a pagan deity: Cerunnos, Master of the Beasts.
But the same Blue Ridge rises to frame the west and "marches to the south" across both realms.
Myers explores what it would be like to live for hundreds of years -- to have that luxury of time to fully explore several schools and materials of art, to become adept in ruling, to master the management of foxhounds, to regret the excesses of one's youth, or to nurse a festering grudge.
Myers paints what might be termed a 21st century "post-post-modern" hero, protagonist George Talbot Traherne. He is a 33-year-old native of Virginia hunt country, 6'4" in stature, brought up to ride horses and take part in Virginia's still-flourishing custom of hunting with the hounds.
In postmodernist literature, all is skepticism, moral equivalence, cultural relativism, and in-your-face rejection of traditional relationships and ideals. The protagonists are not heroes but deeply flawed anti-heroes. George Traherne, in contrast, blends you might say, pre-modern, traditional virtues with a few good ideas from the current post-modern era.
George displays the ancient virtues of physical courage, honesty, virility, presence of mind, fair play, curiosity, intelligence, freedom from self-aggrandizement, loyalty to family, and an innate orientation to the good and honorable. His postmodern sensibility enables him to reject traditional ideas of staffing the hunt to bring in Lutins as "whippers in" and to take on a young woman as understudy for master of the hunt. It is the postmodern outlook that gives George an ease, even a sense of humor, in handling his own transformations.
Out for a ride on his large Percheron horse, George loses his way and meets an oddly-dressed hunting party, tragically halted in its tracks by the murder of Iolo their Huntsman.
Recognized by his name as a "kinsman," George is given charge of the Hounds of Annwn.
"To Carry the Horn" persuasively takes the reader into a magical world. This novel is fast-paced, endlessly inventive, and a thoroughly good read. Myers ennobles for the eyes of a new generation the ancient hunting compact between people, horse, and dogs -- and the chivalric virtues that go with the hunt. We can be glad that this is but the first novel in what promises to be an outstanding fantasy series.
I understand this is the start of a longer series. Consequently, in writing To Carry the Horn, Myers had to strike a balance between building the world of the fae and telling a good story. Additionally, she had to introduce characters who were interesting enough to follow through future books. At the latter task, Myers succeeds; at the former, the results are more mixed.
I have to admit that, for the first half of the novel, I got bogged down. The descriptions were a little too detailed, which, for me, caused the story to drag. I also wonder whether some of the relevant history and magical "rules" of the realm could've been communicated in some way other than the characters sitting George down and simply telling him. That method is okay in small doses, but after several such conversations, it gets a bit repetitive.
On the other hand, as I suggested above, the characters are definitely worth further exploration. I love Rhian and am eager to watch how she matures over time. I also want to see exactly how Gwyn further atones for certain questionable choices he made earlier in his life. And what else does Cernunnos have planned for George?
Overall, I liked To Carry the Horn. It's a pretty solid debut that, despite its aforementioned flaws, definitely piques my interest in the rest of the series.
But then appears George Talbot Traherne, a human huntsman from Virginia, USA who suddenly finds himself in Annwn, the Otherworld. He walks into the scene of a murder and seemingly coincidentally, ends up leading The Wild Hunt, much to the consternation of many of Annwn's fae inhabitants. Even stranger, George discovers he has family ties to Gwyn ap Nudd.
I confess I wasn't sure at first whether these Celtic legends could possibly be at ease in a setting such as Virginia, but I have to say that Ms Myers does a great job of settling them in. A wonderful cast of characters helps enormously, as do her scenes of George's daily life as Huntsman of The Wild Hunt. I found this book to be a fascinating read. The only reason I haven't given it 5 stars is that I felt there was a touch too much ambient description in places, especially in the first third of the story. Apart from that, To Carry The Horn is a refreshing change in the world of fantasy novels.