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Harald (2006)

by David D. Friedman

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936212,262 (3.2)2
David D. Friedman has a deep knowledge of medieval history which brings the world of 'Harald' to living, breathing life.



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I really thought I had put Harald in LT and reviewed it before - I guess I read it before I started reviewing everything. A good if weird story. There are quite a few points where I read a sentence, stop, try to figure out what the heck _that_ means...Harald and his various descendents tend to say things in ellipses, especially when making plans. The first two books are James being stupid and getting his nose rubbed in it. Then the second war, in which Harald and Cara are almost as careful of the enemy as they were in the civil war - the aim is, for some reason, again to immobilize rather than to slaughter. Leaves the Imperials with more men than otherwise, but none of those men are going to be interested in going against the Karls or the Vales again. The third war is pretty much the same, too, though they're less careful that time. I like the names - I get as confused as Kiron about personal names (especially the assorted Henrys), and the fact that most of them seem to be related to Harald doesn't help. But things like what the different groups call each other - from Karls to leatherbacks - make the world very solid and fleshed-out. Harald's a sneaky bastard and his kids are all turning out the same - I'd hate to want anything he was defending or be defending anything he wanted. The last scene leaves room for another book, though it would (probably) only be more of the same - different in detail, of course, but not at base. Oh and one of the other reviews complains about Harald's (and others') dialog - telegraphic sentences. That made me notice them as I don't think I had before. But it's funny - I know the author and while he doesn't talk like that normally, when he gets into a story his sentences become distinctly choppy. I can just see him sitting there telling the tale... ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jun 13, 2010 |
This story is told largely in noun phrases and sentence fragments, and as such reads something like a movie being described - pictures, but one is unsure sometimes of who the actor is, and what the action. The elliptical sentences are echoed in sometimes elliptical plot elements, wherein this reader occasionally wondered what was really supposed to be happening. We also never get inside anyone's head - the story is told purely by observation.

The story takes place in a made-up medieval land, where there is a King, an Emperor, a leader of men, and an Order of fighting Ladies that somehow feel like Crusaders (since they are of a fighting Order). We follow Harald most of the time, but do not know what he plans, or what his goals might be. The book provides a good feel for the medieval passage of time - that is, one recovering from a wound is stuck someplace for awhile. He earns his keep by helping with chores, and with stories told. But he keeps his own council, and we do not know what he intends.

An unusually told medieval-style tale. Parts are excellent, but the extravagent use of sentence fragments makes me welcome a complete sentence where it occurs. And much of the time I was on the ragged edge of understanding what was happening. ( )
  EowynA | Jul 21, 2008 |
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