The Storyteller and other tales by KV Johansen
The Storyteller and other tales by KV Johansen is a collection for adults and older teens that will take you on a journey through exotic worlds and times.
Demon bears take human shape and devils walk in the north of a world where every hill hosts a god and every river and spring a goddess. The storyteller Moth draws Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather carry a lyre than a sword, into an unfinished tale, and old lays of vengeance and betrayal wake into bloody new life around her.
The Storyteller covers the events of only one evening, events that have their beginnings in the mists of time and this tale begins with the arrival of The Storyteller and a giant man to the wooden hall at Ulvsness, as the tale begins so the history of the land unfolds.
The main characters are Moth and Mikki, long-time companions who are not what they first appear to be. Even though the Storyteller is a short tale the author manages to tell the reader much about Moth and Mikki and we learn who they are, where they have come from and why they are there. Moth was the most interesting character and her relationship with Mikki and the Queen's wizard Yorthas formed the centrepiece of the story. Everything is not as it seems and as the night progresses all becomes clear.
Ulfhild was one of the seven wizards of the tales. She became the devil Vartu Kingsbane, who was perhaps not the most powerful of the seven devils, but who would be the most hated, for Hravnmond the Wise was a beloved king, and all the tales agree it was she who betrayed and slew him.
The Storyteller is told in the third person narrative and we mainly see the events unfold through Ulfleif, the Queen's sword. Everything occurs either within or just outside of the wooden hall, a setting that is pleasantly described and a perfect location for a storyteller to weave her craft. The tale is exciting and manages to say a lot in a short amount of time, my favourite moment being the storyteller's tale of the seven wizards and the seven devils. If I could have made any changes I would have simplified the fight that forms the climax of the tale as I became slightly confused at times.
In the foreward of the book, K.V. Johansen mentions that this story features her two favourite characters, Moth and Mikki, and that it also sets the stage for a future project. I love short stories, sometimes an author can say more in 30 pages than another can in 300 hundred. I felt like I was within the wooden hall listening to the storyteller and was eager to learn more about the people and their ways of life.
A slave in Bronze-Age Korthan sees his lovers suffer and die for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods and in the midst of horror at their sin, finds his own faith shaken and takes his own first steps on the road to rebellion.
The tale of He-Redeems covers less than a handful of days in the lives of three slaves. The story opens with all three huddling together in the crowded servants quarters and we discover that Barley, barely more than a child herself, is expecting.
The three of them lay together on the mat, a single blanket of undyed wool over them. Both the young men had an arm around the girl, and she clung to the one she faced, muffling her sobs against his chest. The other leaned over her, whispering anxiously.
The main characters are the titular He-Redeems, First-Son and Barley, all strong characters that are described well. In the end, the relationship that they all hold so dear condemns them and forces He-Redeems to question his faith.
The story is told in the third-person but from the perspective of He-Redeems. This style works well and the setting is a well-portrayed Bronze. This is an excellent story, showing the barbarity of the times and the hypocrisy that can often surround religion. I can't say that I had a favourite moment, as it is a bleak tale, but the moment that stayed with me is when He-Redeems sees the body of his friend swinging and turning gently in the breeze as it hangs from the gallery. He-Redeems is a moving and tragic story that gave me a glimpse of Ancient Mesopotamia and how they lived, this was my favourite of the four tales.
The Inexorable Tide
In a tale built on the familiar legends of our world, Merlin's daughter relates the story of the fall of Arthur's Britain as you have never heard it, a tale of adultery and treachery old and well-known, yet fresh and startling in Nimiane's telling.
The major players in the tale are Arthur, Guenevere, Mordred, Amhar and Nimiane. Arthur is shown to be a headstrong King, Guenevere a shallow and insecure Queen. The most interesting and sympathetic character was Mordred, the man left with the thankless task of protecting a kingdom that Arthur has left undefended. It is Guenevere however that changes most, becoming a more mature and wiser queen.
The King was restless. He was not a lord for peace, though peace was ever his driving dream. When Heol in Brittany begged aid against the heretic Visigoths on his borders, Arthur's answer was shaped as much desire to be doing as by kingship's right.
The story is told in the first person narrative, that of Merlin's daughter Nimiane and this allows us to know her thoughts on the people of Arthur's court. The setting of the book is in the main Nimiane's house where Nimiane, Mordred and Amhar meet to discuss the problems that besiege Britain. A fascinating angle on the Arthurian legend, K.V. Johansen allows us to get to know the character of Mordred better and we find him deserving of great sympathy. He is often the villain of Arthurian tales, not so in this case. This is a no-nonsense approach to the legend, informative and will leave new readers wanting to learn more.
Anno Domini Nine Hundred and Ninety-One
The unnamed common men of England who faced a later generation of sea-raiders are given voice once more in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon, when English fought Vikings at the Blackwater and lost.
To complete the book there is an eleven-page tribute to the common English men who fought against Norse raiders in 991. Based upon an Old English poem, the story is inspired by the though of the common men involved, who, though they had their own reasons for fighting, perished for their lord's pride.
The Storyteller and other tales is perfect fireside reading, full of bravery, tragedy, belief and treachery. Recommended.
This The Storyteller and other tales book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The Storyteller and other tales?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Storyteller and other tales reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, a...
Guy Gavriel Kay
For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought ...
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska - and not Israel - had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking ...
Hats off to Brandenburg
London, 1815 – The Roxy Playhouse is in trouble! The Roxy Playhouse Irregulars, those libertine artists and dreamers, are up to their necks in debt – “Pay...
The Master and Margarita
Moscow, 1929: a city that has lost its way amid corruption and fear, inhabited by people who have abandoned their morals and forsaken spirituality. But when a mysterious st...
Catherynne M Valente
Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, an...
Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side. Once the Oversight, the secret society that polices the lines betwee...
The Gamehouse is an unusual institution. Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of Chess, Backgammon - every game under the sun. But a ...
The Bear and the Nightingale
In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes pres...
Nights at the Circus
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordin...
In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Upon its rooftops and amongst the shadows of its cobbled streets wait the Gatherers – the keepers of thi...
The War at Troy
The people who lived in those days were closer to gods than we are, and great deeds and marvels were commoner then, which is why the stories we have from them are nobler an...
The Golem and the Djinni
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, di...
Land of Hope and Glory
It is 1852. The Indian empire of Rajthana has ruled Europe for more than a hundred years. With their vast armies, steam-and-sorcery technology and mastery of the mysterious...
One Hundred Years of Vicissitude
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departur...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own. New alliances and old feuds will remake the natio...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...
The Shadow Crucible
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All ...