In the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide Gary Gygax wrote an appendix ( appendix N) that listed books that influenced the creation of Dungeons and Dragons. This book appeared on the list and that is what lead me to read it.
Three Hearts and Three Lions takes us through the journeys of Holger Carlsen. Carlsen is a Danish engineering student in America who returns to his home to fight the Nazis during World War Two. During the course of a combat action he is knocked out, when he awakes he is in a parallel universe where it is the middle ages and magic is real. This world that Carlsen appears in is a battleground between the forces of Law and the forces of Chaos. Law is represented by knights like Holger Carlsen's alter ego Sir Holger.Chaos is represented by the Fey and those that consort with them.
The book is well written. The creatures of the realm of Faerie were described in such a way that it left me wanting to learn more of them ( I ended up ordering a book entitled Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee).The battles are well written and the action moves along nicely. I have a short attention span, I often read several books off and on; Three Hearts and Three Lions kept my attention the whole way through. The book weighs in at a quickly readable 238 pages, it left me wanting more.
If you enjoy fantasy novels, but you are tired of the standardized formulas that developed in the post Tolkien era, then this is a read for you.
Originally published in 1953, this book was selected for reprint as part of the "Fantasy Masterworks" series, so I thought I would check it out.
Holger Carlsen is a Danish-American engineer, who, while involved in a daring attempt to smuggle people out of Nazi-occupied Denmark, finds himself mysteriously transported to a medieval-esque land on the border of Faerie. He awakes naked, with no memory of how he arrived in this place - but finds a knight's steed and trappings sitting next to him, ready for his use, so he sets off on a quest to find a way to get home. Soon joined by an earthy little dwarf, Hugi, and a beautiful, nubile swan-maiden, Alionora, he experiences a set of adventures (in which his knowledge of engineering repeatedly comes in handy), faces the machinations of Morgan le Fay, and gradually comes to realize that his true place may be here, in this magical land.
It's a bit cheesy in parts, and suffers from some innate sexism (it was written in the 50's), but overall, a fun, light read.
The Sword and the Spell
A near-miss on a modern battlefield - and Holger finds himself no longer a soldier but a knight-at-arms, exiled to a realm of sorcery and magic where a bloodsome war is gathering. The enchantress le Fay would have his sword for Chaos; the swan-may would have him serve her gentler kind. At first he denies them both to return to "reality" - but it was Earth that was his exile: it is here, in the lowering dragon-smoke, that he must fight and die...
This book is an old classic by Poul Anderson. The cover is a bit worn and pages are yellowed. It is a classic story -- one of the first where a modern man is thrust into a different age, an age of magic and swords -- with a Scandanavian flavor!