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A Mankind Witch by Dave Freer
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A Mankind Witch (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Dave Freer

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134489,677 (3.56)2
Member:patrickgarson
Title:A Mankind Witch
Authors:Dave Freer
Info:Baen (2005), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:ebook, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fantasy

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A Mankind Witch by Dave Freer (2005)

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I liked it...and I didn't. There were parts of the book where I wished I was reading another book and that I never wanted to read again. And then there were parts where it was really good.



I think this was a case of my particular preferences not matching the writing style, more than anything. I can't really pin down why certain parts rubbed me the wrong way, but I will say that I disliked the spots where the surrounding scenery was vague and I had no idea where the characters were.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
Dave Freer's Norse mythology pastiche doesn't overstay its welcome, nor take itself too seriously. The result is a fast, enjoyable, "holiday"-type read with an enjoyable setting.

An alternate middle ages where the Holy Roman Empire reigns supreme and magic is rife is the basic milieu, with this particular adventure taking place in the far north.

Manfred, Prince of Brittany, is sent north by his emperor uncle to track down a missing arm-band for a Norse kingdom, and to ensure that no strife breaks out. He gets more than he bargained for, however, with a secret corsair, magical pledges and enchantment aplenty.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Don't misunderstand; it's not going to rock anyone's world, but Freer's using a setting we rarely see in fantasy nowadays and it gives the whole novel a shine of originality. His dialogue is a weaker point, but it's compensated for by generally good quality prose and a clear affection for Norse mythology.

Additionally, Freer doesn't take his story too seriously. Manfred and the other characters are not afraid to laugh at themselves, or others. It's not silly - I generally can't abide that - but there's a jocular tone to the novel which is needed for the faintly ridiculous shenanigans that go on. I suppose it could be described as a bit of a romp - and in true sword and sorcery fashion, there's absolutely nothing apocalyptic going on.

A fast, fun read, A Mankind Witch made for a very pleasant diversion whilst I was moving house. ( )
  patrickgarson | Nov 3, 2012 |
Although this book is the third in a series, its events take place between the first book (The Shadow of the Lion) and the second (This Rough Magic.)

I enjoyed this book a little bit more than the previous two, specifically, the portrayal of the underworld. I found the visits to the kobolds and dwarves amusing. ( )
  francescadefreitas | Dec 14, 2006 |
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"To the north of the Holy Roman Empire lie the pagan Norse-lands. It is here that Manfred, Prince of Brittany, and his Icelandic bodyguard, Erik, must venture in the dead of winter, to a rugged land of trolls and ice, to find a pagan relic, something so magical that it should not be possible to touch it, let alone steal it. Yet, it is gone. Unless it is recovered before Yuletide, a new Viking age will be born. King Vortenbras will lead his berserks in an orgy of rapine, looting and destruction across the Empire's unguarded flank." "Princess Signy is the King's older stepsister. Everyone believes her to be the thief, a witch and murderess. Everyone but Cair, her stable-thrall, an ocean-plucked man with a hidden past. Cair doesn't believe in witches or magic, let alone that Signy could steal and murder. And if he has to drag the foremost knight of the age and his bodyguard kicking and screaming through the entire Norse underworld to prove it, he'll do it. No kobold, dwarf or troll is going to stop him or his skepticism. Not the wild hunt. Not even a grendel. He doesn't believe in this superstitious rubbish. He's a man of science, and he's used that to fake his way into being feared as magic-worker. But for Signy, he'll be all of mankind's witches." "He'll have to be. Because that's what it'll take to defeat the dark magics massed against her."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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