Elizabeth Boyer,
World of the Alfar #3: The Thrall & the Dragon's Heart
(Del Rey, 1982)

Brak is just a thrall -- a slave to Pehr, heir to a minor chieftain's holding -- when a lost path leads the two young men to a witch's hut, and a servant girl who is more than she seems. Brak's efforts to help Ingvold, even after she unintentionally hag-rides Pehr half to death, lead him and his master into the Alfar realm -- and into a conflict with Hjordis, the witch-queen of the dark elves, and Myrkjartan, a sinister necromancer with an army of drauger (think: Scandinavian zombies).

Brak has little to aid him beyond a stalwart horse and a wizard of questionable abilities and loyalties. Oh, and a dragon's heart, slipped to him by Ingvold to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands; besides being far too spicy, the meat of the dragon's heart provides an unreliable link to god-like beings who may (or may not) provide aid.

The Thrall & the Dragon's Heart is the third in Boyer's excellent World of the Alfar series of high fantasies from the early 1980s. Loosely linked by style and setting, the four books in the series do not feature the same characters, nor do they continue an overarching plot. (This is, however, the first of the series not to borrow major plot points from Norse mythology.) As usual, Boyer provides readers with likable, but unlikely heroes who match wits, more than force of arms, against the dark hordes that threaten the elven realm.

book review by
Tom Knapp

27 May 2017

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