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"The Cry of the Icemark" by Stuart Hill

The Cry of
   the Icemark
Stuart Hill
January 2005
The Chicken House
                         498 pages


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"Thirrin didn't hesitate; shouting the war cry of
       the House of Lindenshield, she attacked..."


       The realm of the Icemark is under threat. A great army is heading north,
       crushing all in its path and defence of this small homeland now falls upon
       the shoulders of a young Princess, Thirrin Freer Strong-in-the-arm Lindinshield
       Together with her new friend, Oskan the Witch's Boy, she must rally the
       realms that border her landlocked state and combine their strengths to
       repel the invaders. But Thirrin is so very inexperienced, and those
       surrounding realms play host to clans of  Vampires, Wolf-folk, and
       legendary Snow Leopards who can see little reason to side with
       humankind in their hour of need.

       "The Cry of the Icemark" is the first of an ongoing series of chronicles
       set in this fantastic realm. Its sequel, "Blade of Fire", has just been
       published in the UK....


» Stuart Hill was "discovered" by Barry Cunnigham, of the Chicken House.
           He previously worked for Bloomsbury and is often credited as the man
           who picked out Joanne Rowling's manuscript from their slush pile
           of submissions. Big Things were thus expected of this book...

» Whilst it didn't reach Hogwart's heights, "Cry of the Icemark" still
           managed to win the Ottakar's Childrens Book Prize for 2005... 


The Gnome says

       Stuart Hill's first novel introduces us to the blood and thunder of a
       legendary realm and a dynamic heroine. The Icemark is a forested realm
       akin to a Norse world, whose people have a strong belief in the otherworld,
       of soothsayers, ghosts and portents. And their fears are realised in the
       form of the Wolf-folk who frequent their forests and the Vampires
       who dwell in the lands beyond their borders. As the tale unfolds we are
       launched into many gutsy encounters, skirmishes and full-on battles
       which rage across the pages. Thirrin struggles both with the reigns
       of power, and her growing affection for her friend Oskan. They ride north
       beyond the forest whilst the enemy masses, a southern threat that
       grows as the chapters pass, until the final bloody confrontation.

       Thirrin has some gutsy encounters on the way. She spars rather
       well with Oskan as they struggle to come to terms with their shifting
       relationship. And the visualisation of the burgeoning Queen and a wave
       of magnificent Snow Leopards racing into battle is impressive indeed.
       The critics have lapped up the adventure, judging by the quotes that
       have surfaced, and the book won that fab Ottakar's Book Prize too.
       What's more, the UK hardback's presentation is splendid. Gary
       Blythe and Carol Lawson have had their work combined to make a
       most evocative dustjacket. And needless to say, a film deal for the
       series has been made.

       So what we have here is a very attractive tome, and undemanding
       readers will doubtlessly be hooked. But is it just me, or is it all just a
       little over-familiar? The author appears to have drawn much of his
       inspiration from the likes of Middle-earth and Narnia. The Vampires
       and the Wolf-folk are somewhat stock-in-trade, and whilst the adventure
       certainly rattles along, and shakes its sword and shield with gusto, this
       reader found himself yearning for are few more surprises in its 500 pages.
       Even the ending feels pre-ordained.

       Still, none of that should put you off. The Icemark is well worth a visit,
       And whilst Thirrin's first adventure doesn't lead us anywhere new,
       there are bound to be some unexpected characters and stories
       lurking in the depths of this new realm - so let's toast a satisfactory
       start, and look forward to lots more guts and thunder and
       a few more surprises in the sequel...



       There were signed editions a-plenty when this book first launched.
       Better yet, the publishers produced a handsome UK collectors edition.
       These were limited to just 1000 signed and numbered copies.
       prsesented in a fabulous slipcase. There are still quite a few of
       them hanging around on the various auction and shop sites on
       the web, but fans would do well to grab 'em now, because
       prices are creeping up, especially now the sequel is upon us...

        "The Cry of the Icemark" - slipcase edition


      Buy this book

      The Cry of the Icemark         The Cry of the Icemark
      UK Hardback edition...                  UK  Paperback edition...


      On the web

      The Chicken House
      The publisher's web site...

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