Fantasy Magazine, March 2011
“The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” by George R. R. Martin (reprint)
“The Sandal-Bride” by Genevieve Valentine
“The Dog King” by Holly Black (reprint)
“The God Orkrem” by Tanith Lee
Reviewed by Bob Leishman
The George R. R. Martin and Holly Black stories are reprints and are not reviewed here.
Rules must be obeyed, or at least observed, and in a society where women do not travel abroad alone there must be male companions to which they are formally linked. This means a quasi marriage between any female passenger and the man escorting them. “The Sandal-Bride” is narrated by the trader escorting a woman south – to her husband.
Genevieve Valentine describes a journey that creates a relationship between three people: passenger, trader, and the trader’s indentured servant Mark. They share the road together. Along the way they meet others, trade, swap stories and stay silent about the marriage and the end of the journey. I liked the characters in this story.
In a city where wolves are regarded as powerful symbols the king keeps one as a pet. Acquired while it was still a pup, it’s named it Elienad. Elienad follows him everywhere, sits under tables during state banquets, and is thus privy to many discussions, intrigues and plots. But there is more to this wolf than meets the eye.
In “The God Orkrem” Tanith Lee gives us the narration of a warrior who’s on a journey to confront a god – the god Orkrem. Before the story ends we’ll have heard his story and learned his motives for the journey.
Lee’s Warrior is a man who’s always confronted life and won, only to lose the prize or piece of mind by way of deceit, deception or things beyond his control. He’s bereaved of all relationships, lost everything, and now goes to meet the harsh god that he believes is responsible for all of it. But, just what does he want to do in the end?
The Warrior avoids philosophical questions. He also gives us only enough of the mythology to make sense of the story. He’s like a cop in that once he’s eliminated the other suspects he goes after the real culprit. That’s the reason I liked this story.