Monday, 10 August 2015


"Star Of The Sea" occupies pp. 467-640 of the paperback edition of Poul Anderson's omnibus collection, Time Patrol (New York, 2006). On p. 493, Manse Everard and Janne Floris confer in the comfortable setting of late twentieth century Amsterdam.

Turning the page, we are plunged into a first century winter: rain, snow and wind lasting into spring; full rivers; flooded fields; overflowing swamps. People ration stored grain, kill livestock and hunt with little gain. The gods seem to harrow the earth.

The heads of the Bructeri households meet round a balefire at their halidom to hear the sibyl Veleda on a cold, clear night. Creaking trees and snarling wind seem to converse. The fire lights the images of Woen, Tiw, Donar and Nerha. The gods are cracked and covered with moss and toadstools whereas the goddess, newly painted by a Southern slave, might be alive in "...the restless glow..." (p. 495). A wild boar roasts for her.

I have tried to summarize this passage in order to communicate Anderson's ability to immerse his readers in an earlier age.

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