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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: legends, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 15 of 15
1. Tsonokwa ~ Woman of the Woods

“She’s called the wild woman of the woods. In some legends, she’s a giant. But she catches little children and puts them in a basket on her back, and then she takes them home and eats them.

“But she’s very slow and dull-witted, and her eyes are cast downward to symbolize this slowness of wit. So they usually get away.”

Her lips are pursed to make the “huuu-huuu” sounds that are characteristic of her. The sound is like the wind blowing, and when children hear that they will clutch at their parents’ legs so that they “don’t get carried away by Tsonokwa,”

“But if you can find her house, you would come away with untold riches. For them, that consisted of furs, walrus ivory, dried fish, dried meats, and especially copper. Copper to them was like gold is to us.”

The well-stocked house of Tsonokwa means that she is a symbol of wealth. So when a chief dispenses his inheritance to his successor, she appears in a male form and presides over the ceremony. The figure representing the male form, Geekumal, wears a mask with a beard and mustache.

Retold by Anthony H Taylor, a retired art teacher who spent a lifetime building his great ethnographic collection, and then upon passing donated it to  the University of Utah.
…and who taught me everything I know about art.

0 Comments on Tsonokwa ~ Woman of the Woods as of 7/24/2016 8:39:00 PM
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2. Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is only my second Kazuo Ishiguro book following on from Never Let Me Go. For me, coming off a novel about cloning, I had no expectations about where he would go next. Much has been made about this novel being a “departure” for Ishiguro but I would argue that he has gone back to something […]

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3. SDCC ’14: Legends: The first thing you see when you land in San Diego will be Sean Bean


So far this year’s San Diego has been sounding pretty routine—no radical new venues or marketing efforts. But that was with 12 days to go. TNT just kicked it up a notch with the first ever AIRPORT takeover, this time for LEGENDS, a new spy show starring Sean Bean, Ali Larter, Morris Chestnut and Tina Majorino. Upon landing, travelers will be met with “Legends imagery and messaging throughout the airport, including at baggage claim carousels and on escalators and skyway bridges. The Legends messaging will also extend to other parts of San Diego, with eye-catching billboards in the Gaslamp Quarter.”

And the show is getting its own hashtag: #DontKillSeanBean because Boromir and Ned Stark.

Nice branding people. So far you win.

All art is renderings; I’m sure the reality will be even more impressive.

2 Comments on SDCC ’14: Legends: The first thing you see when you land in San Diego will be Sean Bean, last added: 7/13/2014
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4. A Rainbow of Birds by Janet Halfmann


Papa Cardinal tells his chicks a story of how birds gave the world the rainbow in a story that has been passed down through generations.

A Rainbow of Birds by Janet Halfmann is a vibrant story of color that celebrates the tradition of storytelling. In this imaginative idea that capitalizes on legends and the ancient art of storytelling, children find a fanciful and fun story of how birds came together–sometimes after a squabble–to create the world’s first rainbow. In her trademark habit of educating and entertaining, Halfmann has included fun facts about rainbows, the magic of leprechauns, and rainbow activities and crafts.

Artist Jack Foster has truly outdone himself with the vibrant and occasionally zany characters depicted in this story. I always enjoy Foster’s work, but this book is so stunning it warrants special mention. Coupled with Halfmann’s delightful text, I could imagine and almost hear the story taking place through my office window.

Nature lovers, lovers of legends, and those who enjoy books where storytelling plays a role will want to snatch this one up right away.

Highly recommended!

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)


Paperback: 20 pagesrainbow inside
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc; large type edition edition (February 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616334622
ISBN-13: 978-1616334628


I received a free digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

4 Comments on A Rainbow of Birds by Janet Halfmann, last added: 4/1/2014
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5. Guest Book Review: Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello


Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (April 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 148252709X
ISBN-13: 978-1482527094
Genre: Juvenile fiction, adventure, Arthurian legend

Five stars
When the King’s Ransom, a wondrous jeweled medallion, is stolen from Pembroke Castle in Wales, it is up to three young heroes to band together to solve this mystery and save a life. Prince Gavin (12), the youngest son of King Wallace and Queen Katherine, and his two friends, Philip (13), an orphan, and Bryan (15), a blacksmith’s apprentice, are an unlikely trio, uneven in terms of social status but firm and loyal companions. Their friend, the Wild Man, is accused of murdering the king’s advisor and stealing the marvelous medallion, a symbol of absolute power and justice, but only in the right hands. Kings have enemies, and it soon becomes apparent that someone was after the medallion for the prestige it would bestow. Gavin, Bryan, and Philip race against time to find the medallion, reveal the true killer, and save the Wild Man’s life. They have only a few days before the arrival of King Arthur. If the medallion is not found, the Wild Man will be executed in front of Arthur. Can they overcome their fears and fulfill this momentous quest? Is it possible the Wild Man has tricked them all and simply used their friendship to get closer to the medallion?
What a delightful story. I am familiar with Cheryl Carpinello’s writing from reading and reviewing her first Arthurian book, Guinevere: On the Eve of a Legend. Then I was entranced by the author’s spell-binding descriptions of life in Arthurian times and her meticulous attention to detail. Cheryl’s skills have remained as bright as ever with the unfolding of this fast-paced tale, threaded with mystery, adventure, a bit of magic, danger, darkness, and lovely twists in the end. I so enjoyed the factual information about weapons, clothing, daily life, and places, cleverly interspersed in the text and dialogue to inform without overwhelming young readers. The author has a gift for delving into the depths of each young hero’s psyche. The way each one of the trio faces their fears, learns to believe in themselves, and finds their true meaning and path in life is moving. This is a superb coming-of-age story, set in a time of chivalry and pageantry, and harking back to an age when a hero was truly a hero.


Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.

3 Comments on Guest Book Review: Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello, last added: 9/17/2013
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6. Marathon

by Boaz Yakin illustrated by Joe Infurnari 2012 Some Greek guy runs from one place to another. And for this a race is named after him. Have you ever seen a movie storyboard? At its most basic, it's a collection of images with key dialog or actions described beneath the sketches to help communicate what the final film sequence should look like. It is a way for the director to communicate to

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7. Young Knights of the Round Table, Book 1: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

. Young Knights of the Round Table, Book 1: The King’s Ransom  by Cheryl Carpinello Muse It Up Publishing 2012 Ariana Ebook Cover Finalist 5 Stars Back Cover:  At Pembroke Castle in medieval Wales eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith’s apprentice Bryan, brought together in friendship by the one they call The …

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8. Book Review Friday -- Arthur of Albion

I have mentioned before, I am entranced by the King Arthur and Merlin legends, so when I had a chance to request Arthur of Albion and received it from Sacramento Book Review for review, I was delighted.  I got hooked on the Merlin legend when I read T. A. Barron's series The Lost Years of Merlin.  This led to reading Mary Stewart's wonderful Merlin Trilogy that starts with The Crystal Cave.  My husband and I both enjoyed that one and then had to track down The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment.  Mary Stewart is a writer who completely immerses a reader in the worlds she creats.  And she, of course, while telling the legendary world of Arthur through Merlin's eyes, hooked me once again on King Arthur.  (I was earlier captivated by the movie in the 70’s, Excalibur.)

So, as I say, when I saw Arthur of Albion listed in books to choose for review, I got my dibs in, and I wasn't disappointed.  John Matthews is an expert on the Arthurian legends, and he tells ten of the main ones here in this lovely collection.  If you get a chance (and if you are smitten with the Arthurian world as I am) get a copy of this book for your own private libary.  And visit Sacramento Book Review for more interesting reviews by various reviewers.

What about you?  Are you hooked on a particular theme or series in literature?

To the review, then:

8 Comments on Book Review Friday -- Arthur of Albion, last added: 6/28/2011
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9. The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter

As fellow readers, I am sure that some of you have experienced this. The siren song of a book simply from title and cover art alone. This was my initial experience with The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. Now, I have enjoyed Potter’s work in the past, so I wasn’t worried at all about experiencing the dreaded feeling of, “but I wanted to like this book!” that happens when readers fall for covers and titles sometimes. From the creepy dark haired young children staring out with their older blond brother wrapped in a scarf and holding a cat, to the bare feet hanging from the tree, I was simply intrigued.

Upon opening the arc, I was greeted with Chapter 1 followed by a bit of foreshadowing of the upcoming chapter: “In which we meet the Hardscrabbles, unearth a triceratops bone, and begin to like Lucia even more.” The Hardscrabbles are siblings Otto, Lucia and Max, who all live in the town of Little Tunks with their artist father Casper. Their mum is simply gone. She had been there, then she wasn’t. As in most small towns, the rumours began to spread…especially when Otto gives up talking aloud (he has invented a sort of sign language that he and Lucia use) and takes to wearing his mum’s scarf everywhere.

Casper is a peculiar sort of artist in that he paints portraits of royalty…exclusively exiled royalty. Casper says, "...there is something extraordinary about the face of a person who has fallen from greatness. They remind me of angels tossed out of heaven who are now struggling to manage the coin-operated washing machine at the Scrubbly-Bubbly Laundromat" (arc p.23) As you can imagine, exiled royals are not big on settling up their bills, so the Hardscrabbles don't live a luxurious existence by any means, and it means that their father is often traveling to wherever it is that the exiles are.

Usually when their dad goes away, the children stay with kooky Mrs. Carnival from down the way, but this time Casper tells them that they are to stay with their cousin Angela in London. Lucia especially is quite excited about this turn of events, and some time in London would be great if cousin Angela were actually at home.  Stuck on their own in London, the kids come up with a plan that doesn't involve staying back in Little Tunks with Mrs. Carnival.  Instead of trying to head home, the kids go on another adventure to find their Great Aunt Haddie in Snoring-by-the-Sea.

It turns out that not-so-old Haddie is renting a castle folly that is chock-full of its own secrets, including the entrance (a Tyrolean traverse), a parent castle (named the Kneebone Castle), and some pretty interesting rats.

I don’t want to go too deeply into the plot and get all spoiler-y. Suffice it to say there are some twists and turns that will make readers want to start flipping back through the text looking for clues. From the beginning where readers are told that the narrator is one of the Hardscrabbles, but not which one, to the very big reveal, Potter has woven together a plot that flows pretty seamlessly. The characters are all well developed (I grew particularly fond of Otto) and their personalities will draw readers in. This is the kind of book that captures readers at the beginning and keeps them in its thrall all the way through. Emily Reads captures the essence in her haiku review found 3 Comments on The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter, last added: 8/11/2010
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10. Gods and Heroes: The Giveaway!

In a previous post I raved about Candlewick's awesome new pop-up book Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods and Heroes. If you check out the video preview provided at the Candlewick site (be sure to go full screen), I think you'll agree that creators Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda have put together one impressive book!

I was therefore honored when Candlewick approached me to write a teachers' guide for using this book in the classroom. (I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love a publishing company that provides those extra perks for teachers and parents to get the most from their picture books). And in case that teacher's guide doesn't give you enough ideas for putting this book to work for you, I've compiled a list of about two dozen must-see books, sites, and activities that further supplement and extend this book.

But wait; there's more! Candlewick has also generously offered to provide a copy of Gods and Heroes to two lucky readers of this blog. It's been a while since I've announced a giveaway, and this book is literally a big one!

I'll explain later how to enter to win, but first, let me recommend some extensions for exploring and teaching with Gods and Heroes.

Related Titles

A perfect companion book to Gods and Heroes is World Myths and Legends: 25 Projects You Can Build Yourself (Nomad Press). Author Kathy Ceceri includes myths from all around the world, gr

7 Comments on Gods and Heroes: The Giveaway!, last added: 5/29/2010
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11. Sports Camp, by Rich Wallace

Eleven-year-old Riley Liston isn’t exactly a jock. Don’t get me wrong, he is good at some sports. Especially the kinds that involve distance and endurance like cross-country and swimming, but he’s not standard fare for sport’s camp.

Camp Olympia turns out not to be quite like the brochure. The “arena” was nothing more than an old barn with a cement floor and the “stadium” a plain old field with the chain link backstop. “The Camp Olympia Institute for Sports and Nutrition” was a smoky, greasy cafeteria that serves food that the kids don’t even want to eat! (They stock up on snacks at the Trading Post to survive.)

But Riley figures out a way to get by. Since all of the campers have to participate in the team sports, Riley simply tries not to screw up. All during the two weeks of camp the bunks are earning points to try to win the Big Joe Trophy, and Riley doesn’t want to be the camper who costs Cabin 3 the cup.

Rich Wallace has written a summer camp story that will snare sports enthusiasts and non-sports enthusiasts as well. The camp setting is familiar to many kids, and if not, readers will take their first journey along side of Riley. Since the sports in the camp are varied, readers will get a glimpse of softball, basket ball, water polo, cross country, and even hot dog eating contests. Readers get to see Riley’s confidence grow as the days go by. All of the trappings of summer camp are in the mix as well, including ghost stories, a famously huge and famously unseen resident snapping turtle, and cabin trashing shenanigans.

Pack this in the bag of a camp going guy you know this summer!

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12. Books at Bedtime: “Mummy, what’s your favorite lagomorph?”

The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales from Around the World, retold by Naomi Adler, illustrated by Amanda Halll…that’s the question that Little Brother prodded me awake with two mornings ago. I have to say that my response did not immediately live up to expectations… However, having ascertained from the child-who-swallowed-the-animal-encyclopaedia-whole that lagomorphs are “rabbits, hares and pikas”, I was eventually able to fudge an answer.

Later on, I returned to the question and said that I had chosen the rabbit in the moon, at which Little Brother laughed at me and told me, “That’s just a myth.”, but he was more than happy to curl up and listen again to the story, so beautifully retold by Naomi Adler in The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales from Around the World (Barefoot, 2006). We agreed afterwards that even though a heart of gold is not really made of gold, it is definitely worth striving for and is “much better than a heart of stone”. I felt reassured that he may be able to recognise the fantasy element in myths and legends, but his imagination is still caught up in the magic of a good retelling: and this collection is an excellent one for reading aloud. Naomi Adler is first and foremost a storyteller and her background in the oral tradition shines through. In fact, her narration on the accompanying CDs is a joy listen to. I also like the page at the end of the book where she describes her sources for each tale – all passed on through the oral tradition by someone first-hand from the country in question!

Amanda Hall’s illustrations also contribute to bringing the stories alive. She emphasises their cultural diversity, by incorporating subtle variations in style according to the country of origin. I love the different borders/motifs, which give each story its own space and identity within the collection.

This version of “The Rabbit in the Moon” comes from India and describes how Rabbit influences all the other animals to aspire to be kind and good. The “great heavenly spirit” disguises himself as a beggar and tests Rabbit’s vow to offer herself as food. Astonished that she attempts to sacrifice herself, he rescues her and sets her in the moon as a shining reminder that “if you give something precious away you may receive something back that is very special.”

This story of the Rabbit in the Moon appears in many different traditions – Cat Mallard at Darbling Wood Studios outlines a different version here, alongside her own whimsical watercolour. This is the version, featuring a fox and a monkey, that is included on the acclaimed Tell Me a Story: Timeless Folktales from Around the World CD, which proved to be an unexpected bedtime hit with The Lovely Mrs Davis’ young son… you can listen to extracts here. Looking Around the World pays a visit to the Tsuki or Moon God Shrine in Japan, where rabbits are particularly venerated – and Sarx has some beautiful photos of a rabbit wood-carving from there too.

Crackle Mountain relates this very different story from Japan of Hare making his way to the City on the Moon, after overcoming the wicked Tanuki (”a raccoon-like dog often mistakenly referred to as a badger”) - it’s a gruesome tale and reminds us of how some traditional stories have been sanitised over the years – but not this one.Bunny Lune by Kae Nishimura If you can’t stomach the story, though, I recommend looking at the accompanying artwork – the eighteenth century porcelain dish is exquisite.

And a story, which is definitely not traditional but requires a background awareness of being able to see a rabbit in the moon is Kae Nishimura’s delightfully witty Bunny Lune (Clarion, 2007). We read it again this evening and had a good giggle imagining what our different moons would be – not fields of carrots like Bunny Lune’s!

0 Comments on Books at Bedtime: “Mummy, what’s your favorite lagomorph?” as of 8/29/2008 8:11:00 PM
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13. Hercules: The Twelve Labors. A Greek Myth

Hercules: The Twelve Labors. A Greek Myth by Paul Storrie, illustrated by Steve Kurth. Copy donated by Graphic Universe, in support of the Cybils. Graphic Novel. Cybils long list.

The Plot: Ancient Greece, Hercules, twelve labors.

The Good: Hercules is one of those people who are "in" the common knowledge, but really, how much do you really know? Seriously, can you name even half of the twelve labors? Without peeking over at Wikipedia, of course. This Graphic Novel is a great introduction for younger readers.

Storrie tells this part of the Hercules saga with lots of action and humor. During one labor, there is the boast that "my club will strike you down!" followed by a "perhaps not" when the club does not in fact slay the beast.

The illustrations are colorful; and since this is a classic retelling, using original sources, Kurth illustrates the book to reflect Ancient Greece, in the architecture and dress.

Also good: a map to help the reader understand Hercules' travels as he performed his twelve labors. I love maps, what can I say! Plus, there are websites for those who want to learn more.

Myths and legends can be a tricky thing for kids; while kids like to read about them, and schools like to teach them, they weren't originally for children. Which means the question arises: how much to include? What to exclude? For example, this version of the Twelve Labors is told without any mention of Hercules killing his wife and children.

0 Comments on Hercules: The Twelve Labors. A Greek Myth as of 3/14/2007 12:32:00 AM
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14. All the Stars in the Sky: Native Stories of the Heavens

All the Stars in the Sky: Native Stories from the Heavens
Author: C.J. Taylor
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN-10: 0887767591
ISBN-13: 978-0887767593

All the Stars in the Sky
is a beautiful book. I’m always a big fan of collections of old folktales, myths and legends, especially when they come from the Americas because there was so much that was lost. Anything reclaimed or re-told is good in my mind. We need our culture and our history. I believe it’s vital. In this book, the author draws on many traditions and their legends inspired by the skies. Each is beautifully told as well as gorgeously illustrated.

I loved the legend of the Old Man and the Sun’s magical leggings. It was witty and funny. The sweeping illustrations in bright sun-colored tones really added depth to both the story and the humor. The illustration of Old Man sitting in the lake to cool himself off after misfiring the leggings arrows of flames was just too great. I laughed and laughed at that one.

Every time we save a legend from our indigenous past, we honor our ancestors. Every time we tell a story from our ancestors, we teach a history lesson to our children. Each story is a pearl of culture, of tradition and fosters both understanding and pride. Our children need these foundations to stand upon. This book is a prayer, an offering to the ancestors. I encourage everyone to buy it, not just those of us who are indigenous. Children will love the stories as will adults. Highly recommended!

About the Author:
C.J. Taylor is an internationally acclaimed artist and children’s author of Mohawk heritage. She has traveled extensively throughout North America helping make the rich cultural history of native people accessible to the young. Her paintings are in many private collections across Canada and the US. She is a self-taught artist and storyteller who has organized exhibitions of Native art across North America. All the Stars in the Sky is C.J. Taylor’s eleventh book. She lives in B.C.

ABOUT THIS BOOK (from the publishe
The heavens — the sun, the stars, and the moon — have inspired, intrigued, and mystified us from the beginning of time. We’ve always searched for ways to comprehend their beauty and their meaning. Mohawk artist and author C. J. Taylor has drawn from First Nations legends from across North America to present a fascinating collection of stories inspired by the night skies.

The legends — Salish, Onondaga, Blackfoot, Netsilik (Inuit), Wasco, Ojibwa, and Cherokee — are by turns funny, beautiful, tragic, and frightening, but each one is infused with a sense of awe.

From the Ojibwa legend of the great hunter, White Hawk, and his love for an unattainable maiden, or the Salish legend of a magical lake that is threatened when human beings turn greedy and lose their respect for its gifts and for the sun’s power, to the delightful Cherokee legend of Grandmother Spider who brought light to the world, this is an important collection that is enhanced by Taylor’s glorious paintings.

1 Comments on All the Stars in the Sky: Native Stories of the Heavens, last added: 2/18/2007
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15. Bloodsong

Bloodsong by Melvin Burgess, sequel / companion to Bloodtide. Copy supplied by publisher. The first image is the UK version; the second is the US version. Review based on uncorrected book proof.

The Plot: Sigurd is born to be a hero; and Bloodsong begins with Sigurd facing the classic hero quest: slay the dragon.

The Good: Loved it. A Best Book for 2007.

Bloodtide and Bloodsong are set in a future that's barely recognizable. It's a post--apocalyptic world that is as bloody and brutal as anything out of the medieval past. It's a world of death and violence. Science has made magic real; with cloning and machines, and "magic rings" studied under microscopes.

Yet magic is not lost; gods such as Odin and Loki are real (or are they the result of some high tech machine?) For example, Sigurd says he is born to do great things: "You think I'm arrogant; I'm not. I was made for this -- literally. My father designed me for it. Every gene in my body was picked for this purpose. My mother brought me up for it; the gods shaped me as the keystone for this time and place. It's no credit to me. I have less choice than anyone." Magical swords coexist with people that are part pig and part dog because of DNA manipulation.

Bloodsong is about adventure; love; greatness; weakness. It is bloody and violent and heartless. And it's realistic, in the sense that things don't always work out they way you think they should or the way you want them to. Bloodsong takes some unexpected twists and turns, changing the story entirely. I never knew what was going to happen next, which is refreshing. And it's why I won't tell anything of the plot beyond Sigurd is off to slay a dragon.

Burgess often shifts POV; mixing it up, so sometimes it's first person, other times third person, and it's not consistent. It's a bit unsettling at first; but it works because it means that, despite the UK cover ("one hero. one kingdom. one chance to make it his own"), there is no one hero; we see Sigurd's view of himself, as well as how others view him; we get into the heads of all the characters, as well as seeing them more objectively. Which makes the violence, the betrayals, the hope and lost hope all the more real and all the more heart-shattering.

The US cover says "a legacy's final heir. a country's only hope." As mentioned above, Burgess provides a slick mix of Sigurd being the heir and the hope not just because the gods say so, but also because Sigurd himself has been genetically engineered to be heir and hope.

Do you have to read Bloodtide to read Bloodsong? No; I read Bloodtide when it first came out and had forgotten much of the details. While I want to reread it, I didn't have the time. No worries; while there are some connections I may have missed, for the most part Bloodsong stands alone. Actually, anyone reading Bloodtide expecting a true sequel may be disappointed; Bloodsong does not continue the story of Bloodtide, but rather tells the story of Sigurd, son of Sigmund, one of the characters in Bloodtide. It's like first reading the story of Henry II and then reading a book about Richard I.

While my copy of Bloodsong didn't mention it, these books are based on the Volsunga Saga. Many of the names are the same; others are close: Sigurd is a Volson, for example. Those of you familiar with the saga will be less surprised than I at the twists and turns of Sigurd's story, and instead will take greater enjoyment at how that story is reborn, retold and reimagined.

Links, all of which refer to the source material so all are highly spoilerific
The Story of the Volsungs (Volsunga Saga)
More on the Volsunga saga.
Interview with author. (video interview)

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