this is the 178th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Song of the Beast by Carol Berg, ROC (NAL/Penguin) 2003 paperback
This is a puzzle story, with a Celtic-flavored setting and an absorbing plot. Aidan MacAllister, cousin of the king of Elyria, was an extraordinary musician. But when he turned 21, the king sentenced him to be imprisoned on a charge of treason. Seventeen years later a scarred, voiceless Aidan is released, his hands crushed, not knowing exactly why he was sentenced in the first place.
Finding the answer to that question is the plot of the book, and it involves dragons, a race of nonhumans, politics great and small, and the truth or falsity of various long-held beliefs about the gods of a well-wrought pantheon.
The pantheon isn’t the only aspect of the book that is well done. Although the complexity of the plot makes the pacing variable, the characters are memorable, and Berg’s intelligence and narrative skill make this stand-alone fantasy most enjoyable.
Song of the Beast covers – but sometimes turns upside down – some major fantasy tropes, which I liked. This one needs a map, but then just about all fantasy without a map, needs one. I liked this one very much.
I’ve never heard of Carol Berg but I’ll be looking for SONG OF THE BEAST. Nice review!
Sounds good but this is not in my area of interest.
I think this came out at a time when I’d grown tired of Dragon covers for fantasy books. There was a time when they were on everything. I may have to go back and give some of that older stuff a chance.
Charles, this is a darn good one.
This is what I turn to if I’m going to read fantasy, especially that last mention of turning upside down the expected motifs in fantasy novels. And interestingly your review of this book’s plot is exactly what I expected GAME OF THRONES to be like. I’ll spare you my rant on that TV series. Thanks for this post. I’ll be on the look out for a copy of this book.
I won’t get you started on that, John, it would be preaching to the choir. There is too much politics and not enough adventure and fantasy in the books for me. I’d rather read David Eddings, or this one.
I’m not sure I’ve ever come across any of Berg’s fiction. Shall have to look into her work.