By the Mountain Bound

By the Mountain Bound

Elizabeth Bear

Language: English

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: Oct 27, 2009

Words: 81609
Pages: 348


For five hundred years the immortal Children of the Light, einherjar and valkyrie, have lived together in the North of Valdyrgard. They were born out of the Sea, each with a shining crystal sword in his or her hand; they are Angels of Light created in the formation of a new world. But three have come before them, from the death-throes of the old world, Midgard: the world-girdling Serpent, Bearer of Burdens; the Wolf Fenris, eater of the Sun, who now takes the form of an einherjar; and his demon sister, stealer of souls. The Children spend their days feasting, fighting, hunting, and guarding their human charges. But one dreadful day a woman is washed up from the sea, a Lady who is no mortal, though she is not valkyrie either. Thus begins the breaking of the Children of the Light, the tarnishing of their power, and the death of Valdyrgard. By the Mountain Bound* is a prequel to Elizabeth Bear’s highly acclaimed *All the Windwracked Stars*, and tells the painful tale of love and betrayal, sorcery and battle, that led up to the day when Muire was left alone in the snow at the end of the world. From Publishers Weekly In this complex prequel to Hugo-winner Bear's *All the Windwracked Stars* (2008), Ragnarok has already occurred, but the world must still be cleansed of the residue of the former realm. When immortal *einherjar* war-leader Strifbjorn rescues a strange woman from drowning, she claims to be the Lady, a long-awaited deity, and defeats Strifbjorn's champion and lover, Mingan the Gray Wolf, to take command. The ensuing internal power struggles set the *einherjar* at odds while the Lady attempts to rally the community against a supposedly imminent attack by giants. Numerous fantasy authors adopt the tropes of Norse mythology, but Bear actively pursues them, channeling those myths directly rather than overlaying them on more familiar ones. The result demands much from readers, but repays it in vivid, sensual imagery of a wholly different world. *(Nov.)* Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Booklist The prequel to All the Windwracked Stars (2008) details events leading up to that book’s opening, with the heroine, Muire, standing on a snowy field at Ragnarok, the end of the world. To backtrack: a mysterious woman washes ashore, and Strifbjorn brings her to his hall. No waelcyrge (Valkyrie) and no mortal, she will set the Children of the Light against one another until battle destroys them all. Bear weaves together the threads of a story of the old world and the three who came from it to the new one, of great loves requited and not, and of subtle battles of wits, sorcery, and swords. Employing three viewpoints, those of the wolf Mingan, the historian Muire, and the warrior Strifbjorn, the novel is a multifaceted, epical story of how the world ends, whose atmosphere is entirely different from that of All the Windwracked Stars but which shares with that book a similar depth of wonder and brilliant realization of the world both inhabit. Another beautiful, awe-inspiring, quite glorious read from Bear. --Regina Schroeder