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Judith Tarr

Book 1

Who recommends: Shelly, Lynn, Danielle, Lori, Julie, Margaret
Who discommends:

A definite SF/Rom. The first volume takes place in an alternative Richard I's court, the second in Constantinople during the siege, and the third in England again, in the faery court there.

The story centers on Alfred, an orphaned elf who becomes a monk at the monestary he's raised in. He lives there over a century as a deeply devoted Christian, very much isolated from the outside world. One day an injured elf appears at the door, and he requires help in completing his mission to Richard's court. Alf takes over the journey and finds himself becoming a favorite of Richard's, and a favorite of a female elf (Thea) he meets along the way. The second and third books continue Alf and Thea's relationship as they find themselves in Constantinople and back home, fighting the Hounds of God, an anti-heretic/elf religious group. (By the way, the romance doesn't HEA in the first book, you have to keep going.)

While the story seems typical fantasy from the description, it is not. The story centers on Alf's understanding and acceptance of himself as an Elf, as a creature of God, and as the object of a woman's desire. Tarr paints a interesting picture of the historical characters she uses and of religious institutions of the period. She also has some very good secondary characters that I loved.

Reading this book reminded me of the tapestries of the period. They are rich in color and full of detail (and while there's action sometimes it doesn't move a lot, but that's OK because it's nice to contemplate).--Shelly (04 Nov 99)

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