Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bargain Books: Peter Morwood's Tales of Old Russia


I didn't know about Peter Morwood's Tales of Old Russia series until I was exploring his bookstore in conjunction with my purchase of Diane Duane's Young Wizards book sale at Ebooks Direct. Looking back at the older covers, I vaguely remember them on the shelves, but they were originally released when I was in college and at that point Russian folklore wasn't high on my radar. In 1990, my focus was still on a physics major! Anyway, I bought them while they are half price because the titles are intriguing, the online reviews were positive, and hey, RUSSIAN FOLKLORE inspiration. Prince Ivan, Marya Morevna, Firebird, Baba Yaga--I'm so there. Of course, they are jumping into my TBR pile, but they will be there. They remind me of Orson Scott Card's Enchantment in description, one of my favorite Sleeping Beauty novels, although they are very different, of course.

So, yes, these are $3.00 each with the 50% sale this weekend only--the sale ends Monday. And again, I am sharing because of the sale--there are no affiliations with SurLaLune. But either way, these are very pertinent to SurLaLune's themes and don't appear to be available through other etailers either.

And now for the book descriptions with current covers:

Once upon a time, there was a prince...

In the tiny ancient Russian tsardom of Khorlov, strange doings are afoot. When Tsarevitch Ivan Khorlov's three sisters marry into magic, he sets out across the wide white world to see what fate has in store for him... and meets the mysterious Mar'ya Morevna, the most beautiful princess in all the Russias, whose castle holds a terrible secret that will change both their lives beyond recall.

For the sorcerous Mar'ya is the jailer of the awful being known only as Koshchey the Undying. When Koshchey breaks his bonds and spirits Ivan's true love away to the ends of the Earth, naturally Ivan has no choice but to follow... though he knows his enemy cannot be stopped by any merely mortal force. Prince Ivan must find his way to his beloved, and save her, with nothing to help him but his wits, his kind heart, and a little bit of magic.

But between them lies a wilderness full of unknown dangers. And his way to Mar'ya Morevna is barred by one of the worst horrors of legend -- one that waits hungrily just for him in a hut that stands on chicken legs...

In the dark winter of 1235 the Teutonic Knights are plotting a crusade against Russia. Their secret weapon is the foul witch Baba Yaga, out for revenge against her old enemy, Ivan, Prince of Khorlov.

In his second spectacular fantasy adventure in the lands of Old Russia, Prince Ivan finds himself battling against civil war at home, foreign invaders, the dreadful powers of the Inquisition, and the soured magic of an evil old woman.

But Ivan is not without allies. And the forces arrayed against him soon discover that they may have miscalculated when they find themselves up against not only Ivan and the forces of Khorlov, but a cranky sorceress-wife who may or may not be pregnant, a fabulous and deadly bird with its own agenda... and Volk Volkhovitch, the opposite of a werewolf.

Witty, thrilling, played out agianst the backcloth of a brilliantly realized medieval world, Peter Morwood's Firebird seamlessly weaves together Russian myth with real history to conjure up an unputdownable tale.

In the middle of the thirteenth century, the private quarrels of Russia's brawling little kingdoms are savagely interrupted by the ruthless advance of the Tatars. One by one the city-states fall to the irresistible force of the Golden Horde. Those tsardoms that resist are stamped out of existence and their inhabitants slaughtered. Only those that submit are spared, but each conquered Prince must travel to the great tent-city of Sarai and surrender his crown to the Khan. At last the choice comes to the little tsardom of Khorlov: bow down, or be destroyed!

Ivan Khorlovskiy, once Prince, now Tsar, needs all his cunning -- and all his patience -- to restrain his proud, hotheaded warriors from defying the mightiest army the world has ever seen, and bringing destruction on all his people. When the Khan commands him to Sarai with Khorlov's Great Crown, that command includes three treasures as priceless -- and as dangerous: Ivan's wife Mar'ya Morevna the sorceress, and their two small children. But once within the walls they find themselves facing a peril more terrible than even their captors: the dark pagan gods of Russia, starved of worship -- and of sacrifice -- for half a thousand years...

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