A Marvellous Fantasy Non stop Action Chivalry and Romance That's how Hilary Wilson of BookLoons describes Gerfalcon the first volume in the long out of print Neustrian Cycle The Neustrian Cycle is set in medieval France in an alternate universe where witchcraft is real so are the ghosts In it Raoul the young heir to the barony of Marckmont described as a blend of elf and owl and boy grows up to become a sensitive intelligent young man who prefers reading and song to the so called knightly virtues of war and slaughter At seventeen he takes off on his own and thus begin a series of adventures that will try and mature him Along the way he falls in love survives attempted murder saves Red Anne Mistress of the Witches' Coven of the Singing Stones and is forced to join a band of outlaws where his life is one of constant danger Only after many thrilling incidents does he finally comes into his inheritance The New York Times wrote that Gerfalcon is ?recited with vividness and imagination recommended While one fantasy weary reviewer noted In a genre clotted with saccharine imitations of Tolkein Barringer's Neustrian Cycle is a true breath of fresh air The stories are all tightly written the dialog is a marvel of subtlety and the fantasy is distinctly grown up in its sophistication It is filled with multi faceted characters fascinating looks at medieval life desperate struggles and an overall sense of reality that is lacking from much other fantasy Barringer's characterizations make most fantasy characters look as bland and uninteresting as cardboard For my money Barringer is the most unfairly least appreciated fantasist barely on the market today All three of his novels Gerfalcon Joris of the Rock and Shy Leopardess are than worth the effort of tracking down I can't recommend them highly enough

10 thoughts on “GERFALCON

  1. says:

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy LiteratureRaoul will one day be baron of peaceful marshy Marckmont but until his eighteenth birthday he’s under the protection of his Uncle Armand Count of the bleak and windy crags of Ger Armand has no love for the slight and introspective Raoul and can’t understand why his nephew would rather play chess and write songs than hunt animals Raoul a romantic likes to think about beautiful things but at Ger “you must be smothered in blood before they think you are a man” When Raoul is told he can’t go with Armand’s company to the tourney in Belsaunt he sneaks away and visits the tourney anyway There he sees and instantly falls in love with the beautiful lady Yseult de Olencourt He is flogged when he returns to Ger so he runs away and seeks a position in a noble house until he is old enough to claim his quiet and solitary baronyAfter leaving Ger Raoul meets the folk of the land including a runaway murderer a few witches a large warrior woman with flame red hair the three deadliest outlaws in the area a brave serving girl and several lowborn life long friends He also has several frightening adventures in which he surprises himself with his actions His consideration of these episodes and the advice he receives from wise people teach him much about life love men women and himself For example “we have oftener to choose between two wrongs than between a wrong and a right” There is “none so cruel as a slave come suddenly to power” “Why do men like killing boy? Because it is an usurpation of the power of God What God began they have ended red with the mortal sin of murder they feel godlike power and fall into the mortal sin of pride” It’s the men in the army who earn the fame for their Lord To gain peace there must be war and sometimes brutal acts are required The clod looks at a woman with two eyes “The eye of contempt and the eye of desire No wonder women look for gold and gear beside” “For the thing which sets men naturally at each other’s throats and the other thing which bids them blush or frown at touch of a woman’s body there must be somewhere a reason” To be noble is “to have the power and to refrain”Leslie Barringer’s Gerfalcon is a beautifully written and exciting coming of age epic with a loveable introspective hero who learns that peace has a price and that his own heart’s desires are not to be trusted The prose though slightly archaic is easily read and the story is full of incisive insights into and sometimes gentle mocking of human behavior Gefalcon would be a great read for a mature teenager if you can find it Barringer’s fantasies are out of print Beware of the ebook version which I read Renaissance E Books — it’s full of typos