The Knight of the Red Beard

~ 5th Novel in the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan Series by Andre Norton

Written by Sasha Miller


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The Knight of the Red Beard

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Having rebuilt the NordornLand from rubble, Ashen and Gaurin rule justly and fairly over a reinvigorated land. Beloved by their kingdom, they now turn their attention to the next generation of Nordorn royalty. Responsible Bjaudin, heir to the throne, focuses on his studies and Hegrin, Queen of Rendel, rears her own growing brood. But the youngest siblings, Elin and Mikkel, seem destined to alter the future of the NordornLand—for better or for worse. Thirteen-year-old Elin craves power, and believes her new alliance with the evil Ysa may help her achieve it. Eleven-year-old Mikkel stows away on a Sea-Rover ship, hoping for a brief adventure. But when the ship is attacked, Mikkel is taken prisoner, and soon his bonds to the NordornLand are the last thing on his mind. Through births and deaths, celebration and wars, Ashen and Gaurin have worked tirelessly to bring peace and prosperity to their kingdom. But it appears that this era of peace may be at its end. This final installment of the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan brings the series to a thrilling climax worthy of these fascinating characters. 

 

Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~

Having rebuilt the NordornLand from rubble, Ashen and Gaurin turn their attention to the next generation of Nordorn royalty.
Bjaudin, heir to the throne, focuses on his studies and chooses a bride, but the youngest siblings, Ellin and Mikkel, seem destined to alter the future of the NordornLand – for better or worse.
 Thirteen-year-old Elin craves power and believes her new alliance with the Ysa may help her achieve it, but their manipulations have effects more far-reaching than anything they could have imagined.
 Eleven-year-old Mikkel stows away on a Sea-Rover ship, hoping for a brief adventure before is is inevitably returned ti his parents. But when he is taken prisoner, his bonds to the NordornLand are soon the last thing on his mind.
Ashen and Gaurin have worked tirelessly to bring peace and prosperity to their kingdom. But when growing tensions force them to take to the streets, it appears that this era of peace may be at its end…

 

Write-ups from fans ~

The youngest son of Ashen Norden-Queen and Gaurin Norden-King is enticed by a friend into stowing away on one of the navy's warships. However, it is under the command of the least experienced of the sea captains and he promptly gets it captured then sunk by the Wykenings from the North. Most of the Seaman are left to drown, but the Wykenings rescue the two boys and the captain with the intentions of holding them for ransom. But since the young Prince's constant companion is a warkat that the Wykenings are in awe of. The Wykening leader decides to keep the boy and the warkat. His daughters evil foe Ashen and Gaurin defeated in the last installment, and she means to take revenge on the boy by using magic to make him age prematurely. ~ SL

 

Book five of the cycle of Oak,Yew, Ash, and Rowan. Of Ashen's four children, Hegrin is Queen of Rendel, Bjaudin (the crown Prince) is a studious sober serious to his station. Princess Elin craves power and believes that Ysa is her key to getting it. The youngest prince, eleven-year-old Mikkel wants adventure. Elin steals an evil mysterious bracelet with nine teeth to impress Ysa. Mikkel, along with his best friend Tjorvi (son of Rohan) stow away on a Sea Rover ship. The ship is attacked by Wikenigs and Mikkel is taken prisoner. He is put under the care of Askepott, the local wisen-wyf. Unfortunately, Holger, the ruler of the Wikenigs is married to Gunnora, the evil daughter of the equally evil sorceress, the late Flavielle. She puts an aging spell with an amnesia chaser on Mikkel. He escapes with the aid of a once-thought-to-be-mythical being called a Rock-Maid, one of a powerful race of people living in a vast underwater city. Meanwhile, back in Nordernland, several betrothals have been taken place including Elin's. She moves in with Ysa who sees the potential for mischief with the new arrival. Elin gives her the bracelet. Ysa knows that it is a powerful talisman but cannot figure out how to use it. Leaving Elin to practice ruling Iselin, she returns to Cyornas castle to consult with Zazar who proclaims it to be wholly EVIL and confiscates it. Later, Zazar uses a travelling spell to visit Askepott who tells her the direful origin of the bracelet and counsels Zazar to hide it until they can figure out a way to destroy it. They find out that Gunnora is eagerly searching for the bracelet of the Nine and unstoppable Power. Mikkel, now known as the Knight of the Red Beard, helps the rock maids remodel a ship to fight Holger. His parents send out emissaries to ransom him, but, that plan doesn't work, because Holger no longer has Mikkel. Due to Ysa's tampering, there is unrest in the kingdom, so Ashen and Guarin set off on a "progress" of their domain and there they come to grief. A sad end for such a valiant couple. ~ PG

 

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Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

To my late collaborator, Andre Norton, whose vision inspired the Nordorn Land cycle.

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2008) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-30748, $25.95, 384pg ~ cover by Luis Royo, map by Elisa Mitchell
  • (2009) Published by TOR, PB, 978-0-7653-4661-2, $7.99, 368pg ~ cover by Luis Royo, map by Elisa Mitchell
  • (2010) Published by TOR, DM, 978-0-7653-4661-2, $7.99, 368pg ~ cover by Luis Royo

 

 

 

 

 

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