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Book Title: The Serpent Dreamer|
The author of the book: Cecelia Holland
Edition: Forge Books
Date of issue: November 29th 2005
ISBN 13: 9780765305572
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.13 MB
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Reader ratings: 5.6
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If you've read any of the other Corban Loosestrife novels, this one will be different, at least in setting and subject matter. If you've not read any of the others, you ought to be able to pick this one up pretty easily. Sadly this book is out of print, but hopefully an e-book edition will be available someday.
The story is set entirely in early medieval North America and the Corbanssons do not figure at all. The theme is a Native American story about how humanity began, and the reflection of this myth in a conflict between Corban and another main protagonist and in conflicts between various Native American tribes. Political and social intrigue and the presence of powerful spirit women figure here as in all the other novels. The most interesting part, in my view, is how Holland weaves myth into an adventure tale. The story is suspenseful and had me guessing right up until the end, which takes another surprising twist. Even though it's quite different in setting than the other novels, I ended up enjoying it simply as a good yarn.
The following part of the review will have heavy spoilers for the end of The Witches' Kitchen and mild spoilers for this book.
At the end of The Witches' Kitchen, Benna is dead and Raef and Conn have become retainers of Sweyn Tjugas. Their adventures continue in the fourth book, Varanger. In The Serpent Dreamer, Corban returns alone to the ruined site of his home on the eastern seacoast of North America. There, his sister Mav has helped elevate the outcast Miska into chief of his tribe, and Corban has found a new family among them, though he never really belongs to the tribe and is set in conflict against Miska. On Mav's direction, Corban and Miska both set off on a journey which brings them into contact with a ruthless but more technologically advanced Meso-American tribe. It's suggested that this encounter will have profound effects on the tribes back east.
You have to suspend a bit of disbelief. Distances seem very compressed and I am doubtful that the North American tribes had such overlap in language and culture. The incursions of the Itzen seem implausible. However, it makes for a good story, which with Holland's book is always the point I think. There is an interweaving of myth into the story of Corban vs. Miska that I find very subtle and clever. As always, there are heart-rending and touching moments. Fans of Cecelia Holland will enjoy this one, as long as they know not to expect Vikings and Celts.
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Read information about the authorPen name used by Elizabeth Eliot Carter.
Cecelia Holland is one of the world's most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists, ranked by many alongside other giants in that field such as Mary Renault and Larry McMurtry. Over the span of her thirty year career, she's written almost thirty historical novels, including The Firedrake, Rakessy, Two Ravens, Ghost on the Steppe, Death of Attila, Hammer For Princes, The King's Road, Pillar of the Sky, The Lords of Vaumartin, Pacific Street, Sea Beggars, The Earl, The King in Winter, The Belt of Gold, The Serpent Dreamer, The High City, Kings of the North, and a series of fantasy novels, including The Soul Thief, The Witches Kitchen, The Serpent Dreamer, and Varanger. She also wrote the well-known science fiction novel Floating Worlds, which was nominated for a Locus Award in 1975. Her most recent book is a new fantasy novel, Dragon Heart.
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