`Other' is the theme of the day - other worlds, other species, other religions. In THE STORYTELLER AND OTHER TALES, K. V. Johansen presents four stories that range from uplifting to eerie with one guarantee: they will all haunt you long after the last page has been turned.
In "The Storyteller," Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather not carry the sword she has inherited, is drawn to the mysterious storyteller Moth, who has an agenda of her own for seeking out Ulfleif's home. He-Redeems, a slave in Bronze-Age Korthan, finds that his lovers have been tortured and executed for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods in "He-Redeems," and in response to this horror, finds his own faith shaken. Merlin's daughter rewrites a familiar tale in "The Inexorable Tide," painting a picture of Arthur's Britain steeped in adultery and unexpected treachery. "a. d. cmxci" gives voice to a group of common men of England who faced a barrage of sea-raiders in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon.
THE STORYTELLER AND OTHER TALES is a collection based around the idea of `other,' and, as such, it succeeds admirably. While all of the stories contained in this book have a magical element to them, which makes this an excellent read, the reader is drawn towards thoughts of what exactly makes the `other' different, and what place otherness has in society today. The best of books are ones that entertain and yet still manage to compel deep thought on the part of the reader, and this is certainly one of them. K. V. Johansen nudges the reader to consider different ways of looking at the world, at heroism and betrayal, and of tragedy.
I enjoyed this collection very much, and I was disappointed to find that it was comprised of only four stories when I reached the end.
Reviewed by: Rebecca Wells