didn't hesitate; shouting the war cry of
the House of Lindenshield, she
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....
Hill was "discovered" by Barry Cunnigham, of the Chicken House.
worked for Bloomsbury and is often credited as the man
out Joanne Rowling's manuscript from their slush pile
Big Things were thus expected of this book...
it didn't reach Hogwart's heights, "Cry of the Icemark" still
to win the Ottakar's Childrens Book Prize for 2005...
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...
Cry of the Icemark
Cry of the Icemark
UK Hardback edition... UK Paperback
The publisher's web site...
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