The Golden Shrine: A Tale of War at the Dawn of Time
Tor, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he Golden Shrine
is the third (following
Beyond the Gap
The Breath of God
) in Harry Turtledove's military/magical
Opening of the World
eyond the Gap
introduced the Raumsdalian Empire, with Bizogot tribes and a melting glacier barrier to its north. An expedition to explore the glacial gap included Raumsdalian Count Hamnet Thyssen, Bizogot Jarl Trasamund, adventurer Ulric Skakki, wizard Audun Gilli, and young Bizogot shaman Liv. They came up against mammoth riding
, whose invading army included powerful sorcerors.
The Breath of God
, after being unsuccesssful in persuading authorities to take the threat seriously (Raumsdalian Emperor Sigvat tossed Hamnet into a dungeon), this small band of heroes fought back. They were forced to retreat up the Glacier, where they gained an ally in powerful shaman Marcovefa (a cannibal like all her tribe). They returned to rally Imperial forces against the Rulers, with somewhat better success this time.
The Golden Shrine
, Thyssen and a
banter and battle their way south into the Empire, where Sigvat has already fled the capital. There they learn the limits of even Marcovefa's very powerful magic, before they're pressed north to Bizogot lands again, the Rulers being especially interested in capturing or killing Hamnet (who wonders why they put such a
on his head).
hen Hamnet's small force makes what it believes to be a final stand against more than overwhelming odds, destruction unleashed against the invaders finally reveals the Golden Shrine. Its ancient priesthood has a four word message for Hamnet to take to the uninspiring Sigvat. Though the Count and those closest to him finally win a well-deserved respite from war, one wonders if and when their adventures will continue in this engaging world.
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