The House of the Stag by Kage Baker
This review of Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag has been reproduced due to the kind permission of its author Harrison Holtz. Harrison is the man behind the wonderfully named blog The Ostentatious Ogre and Fantasy Book Review highly recommends it for those looking for further reviews on all things science fiction and fantasy.
The House of the Stag by Kage Baker knocked me out with its one two combination of humour and world building. Previous to finding this book on the shelves of my local library it wasn’t just below my radar it wasn’t even a blip. As I scanned the titles of the novels in hopes of finding Baker’s Gardens of Iden the title The House of the Stag jumped out at me. So I took it down off the shelf and read the blurb:
It begins with a tragedy. Before the Riders came to their remote valley, the Yendri led a tranquil pastoral life. When the Riders conquered and enslaved them, just a few escaped to the forests. Only one of them possessed the necessary rage to fight back: Gard the foundling, half-demon, began a one man guerrilla war against the riders. But his struggle ended in the loss of the family he loved and condemnation from his own people.
I was sold. Sitting down in my lazy boy recliner and cracking the cover I didn’t quite know what to expect and sometimes it’s the unexpected that turns out to be just what I was looking for.
From the beginning the story seems to draw influence from of all books; The Bible. In the beginning the Yendri live in a Garden of Eden environment content to live out their days in harmony with nature. Unfortunately this harmony is shattered when the Riders appear and enslave the Yendri and ravish the land
Other similarities exist as well. Cain and Abel is revisited in the form of Gard and his brother Ranwyr, The Beloved in a Moses type role, Lendreth in the role of Joshua and even a foretold saviour that will arrive to deliver the Yendri from their enslavement.
Along with the biblical motifs Baker also mixes in quite a bit of primitive mythology and in turn creates a unique mythos for her world. The world Baker creates will look vaguely familiar; like someone you went to high school with who has had some work done. Baker offers the fantasy genre a face lift with numerous fresh ideas.
The concept of The Mountain in the second section of the book is wholly unique to any fantasy I’ve read. Also the way she handles the race of demons is exceptional and completely different than any demons I’ve ever come across. (in the pages of a book.)
Along with these fresh ideas Baker infuses the story with humour throughout. She takes more than a few shots at the Fantasy Genre in particular. You can’t help but smile when you see the Theatre company perform variations of The Great Theme time after time. Each play is just like the one before in much the same way many Epic Fantasies are derivative of each other.
With this humour and a number of fresh ideas The House of the Stag was an unexpected surprise for me and one that I hope many others will take the time to search out along with its predecessor The Anvil of the World.
The House of the Stag is truly a unique book and to me feels like several different novellas collected into one book and that’s not a knock on it at all. Each section of the book has its own “feel” which makes for a very pleasurable reading experience.
About the author
Kage Baker was born in Hollywood, California and has lived there and in Pismo Beach most of her life. She is best known for her Company series of historical time travel science fiction novels. Her unusual first name (pronounced like the word "cage") is a combination of the names of her two grandmothers, Kate and Genevieve.
This The House of the Stag book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read The House of the Stag?
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 House of the Stag reader reviews
8.5/10 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
Chatwin has visions of a parallel world where a couple are fleeing some terrible event pursued by an enemy and are seeking a gate to freedom. Chatwin is the gate, and when ...
Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged. Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in...
Catherynne M Valente
Sei, November, Ludov, and Oleg -- four people unknown to each other but united by grief and their obsession with the city of Palimpsest. Located beyond the human realm, Pal...
When Grendel is drawn up from the caves under the mere, where he lives with his bloated, inarticulate hag of a mother, into the fresh night air, it is to lay waste Hrothgar...
On the day the world ends... Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes - a huge wave, dragging black night behind it ...
The Rabbit Back Literature Society
Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen
Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a te...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Silmarillion provides the background to Middle-earth, the setting of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. It is an account of the Elder Days; the First Age when Morgot...
In the depths of Broceliande - an ancient French woodland - Merlin and the enchantress Vivien play out their deadly feud. Meanwhile, a child is born deaf, dumb and blind. H...
Maria and the Devil
The Devil has ridden out. Montana’s most feared outlaw has left his secret lover, Maria, alone in their secluded house deep in the wilds. If he had known that she was...
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family's mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything ...
Charm is a beautifully illustrated re-telling of the Cinderella story which takes all the much-loved elements of the classic fairytale (the handsome prince, the fairy godmo...
The Last Quarrel
Gaelland is a nation gripped by fear. In the country, fishing boats return with their crews mysteriously vanished, while farms are left empty, their owners gone into the ni...
Trojan War Trilogy
Three lives will change the destiny of nations. Helikaon, the young prince of Dardania, haunted by a scarred and traumatic childhood. The priestess Andromache, whose fiery ...
The Immortals Trilogy
Imagine a place where women dominate, where beauty is both physical and internal and where the imagination is allowed to run wild. Where flowers transport you into another ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Downfall of the Gods
If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it - assuming you aren't Lord Archias and you haven't killed the Goddess's favorite musician,...
Huginn and Muninn, the Eyes of Thought and Mind; Freyr the Blade that stands alone; Mjolnir, Thunder, strength and devastator. Gods bloodied and wounded, that live and die. Ta...
Long before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a fa...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
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...
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...