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Unicorn and Dragon by Lynn Abbey
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Unicorn and Dragon (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Lynn Abbey

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133390,390 (3.07)1
Member:RobynBachar
Title:Unicorn and Dragon
Authors:Lynn Abbey
Info:Avon Books (Mm) (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 230 pages
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Unicorn & dragon by Lynn Abbey (1987)

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I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of historical accuracy that went into this book: everything from the embroidery on the garments to the bathing to the construction of a Saxon castle. The characters are flawed in ways that only someone who has written fearlessly for a while can describe them, and the insight into the many conflicts of this time is also good.

The action takes place in the winter of 1065, months before the Norman invasion of England. The rightful King lies dying without an heir, and his sons and daughters have made outlaws of one another. In Wessex, a landholder, his sister-in-law, his daughter, and his foster daughter live in relative safe comfort until the arrival of a wounded stranger makes real to them the outlaws living in the forest on the ridge. These same outlaws are the followers of one of the sons of King Edwards who are in exile from their Northumbrian lands, and they pillage and rape both homesteads and monasteries. The household and manor are saved, perhaps, by the Norman liege lord who brings both more swords but also a new way of life.

The conflicts are numerous during this time period, and perhaps that is why she chose a time just before 1066: the conflicts between the sisters fit in well with a household conflicted in its loyalties and the reality of inheritance, and the conflict between the old ways of the Goddess and the Christianity of the priests are also in good balance.

My one drawback to totally loving this book is the editorial one: sometimes the she" or the action is unclear in a paragraph, and I found myself more than once returning to re-read a page just to be clear on the actions or motivations it described." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
OK historical fiction with a pagan/psychic element. I have to admit I picked it up due to the lovely Robert Gould cover.
The book is also supposed to be 'illustrated' by Robert Gould, but don't buy this because of that: this edition, at least, has the very worst printing quality I've ever seen in a book, and most of the 'illustrations' are indistinguishable masses of grey dots.

The story: set in 11th-century Britain, two 'sisters.' Allison is blond, beautiful, legitimate and not only that, heir to secret pagan powers, including the ability to influence others' minds. Wildecent is dark, unassuming, and seemingly without any remarkable powers. She's also not Allison's true sister - was she kidnapped? Adopted?
Into their manor house comes a young man, rescued from both wolves and outlaws. Since they don't get to see new people too often in their sheltered life, it's not unbelievable that both women develop crushes on him. Conflict and jealousy ensues, mixed in with magic and political conflict between Anglo-Saxon and Norman factions.

Not bad; there's a sequel which I may pick up one of these days. It has a little bit of a Mists-of-Avalon feel to it. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Excellent young adult book on a difficult time in England's history. There are many transitions going on; Saxon to Norman, Celtic Goddess to Christianity and freemen to feudalism. The two sisters who are the main characters are well done, as are some of the minor characters. The author has a pretty clear bias in favor of the Saxons so the Normans come out on the short end of the stick, but it is still well done. ( )
  joysgood | Feb 17, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lynn Abbeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gould, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380750619, Paperback)

A fantasy masterpiece set in the English countryside of two young women in charge of their own future by the co-creator of "Thieves' World" Wolves are loose in the English countryside. A dying monarch cannot enforce the laws, and his heirs are circling like vultures. The small castle that is Hafwynder Manor is thrown into chaos by the arrival of a mysterious young stranger, too badly wounded to explain his plans. The forces of 11th century history invade Hafwynder Manor. Its safety - and perhaps the fate of all England - many depend on the deeds of the blond, impulsive Alison and her sister, the dark-haired and cunning Wildecent. With the forces of the outside world raging at the castle the two young women must learn to shape their own destiny!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:01 -0400)

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