Morning in the Studio
"Into the Woods" series, 46: The Enchanted Harp

Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer by Kinuko Y. Craft

I posted my article "The Enchanted Harp" today in honor of one of the finest of harp novels -- Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner -- which has just been re-published in England as part of the prestigious Fantasy Masterworks series.

Based on a classic Scottish fairy ballad (Child Ballad 37), Ellen's lyrical, sensual, deeply folkloric novel won both The World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award when it was first published in 1990. It's one of my favourite books in the world, and I highly, highly recommend it.

See not ye that bonny road that winds about the fernie brae? That is the road to fair Elfland, where thou and I this night maun gae....

- from the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner

Go here to read Ellen's thoughts on using Celtic material in fantasy fiction, posted on this blog back in May. The cover art above is for the Fantasy Masterworks edition (UK) and the most recent of the American editions (illustration by Kinuko Y. Craft).

Comments

It's one of my favorite books also. Glad to see it back in print!

Haven't read it; definitely one to add to the library!

I read "Swordspoint," waaay back in 1987 and got a chance to meet Ellen Kushner and I could thank her for it. ThomansThe Rhymer is also on of my favorites. It was a time of finding fantasy could be
splendid and sophisticated. She was and is a pioneer in fantasy fiction.

This is definitely one of the classics of our field that everyone should know about -- particularly readers who love works steeped in myth and folklore. Though I admit a bias since this book is by a very close friend, the reviews and awards back me up!

Also, the e-book edition of her brilliant sword-swashing and gender-bending novel Swordspoint is available from Amazon for $1.99 this week.

I'm part of the Authors United group trying to get Amazon to change their evil ways before they destroy the publishing business entirely, thus I'm not entirely comfortable recommending an Amazon purchase...so if you can afford to buy it elsewhere, please do! But for those on a tight, tight budget for whom the discount makes a difference, the sale runs through Friday.

There are also amazing audiobook versions of the "Riverside" books (Swordspoint, Fall of the Kings, and Privilege of the Sword) available from Audible.com (as part of the "Neil Gaiman Presents" series), which include dramatized scenes interspersed with text read in the usual way. These, too, have won awards, so Ellen is still a pioneer on many fronts.

Thank you, Phyllis!

And I'm still working on it...

Jonathan Strahan mentioned this one a couple of days ago too, and I thought it sounded like just my kind of thing...so I'm definitely going to have to get my hands on it now!

Oh, certainly one of the finest books I've ever read. I yammer on about it regularly. ;)

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