The Harp and the Blade, by John Myers Myers

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Walking thus loaded didn’t help my hunger or my disposition, but it warmed me up in short order. My burdens were not too heavy, but they were awkward; and a long sword wasn’t designed for a pedestrian. In consequence, though the new sun was soon lighting a very fair day I wasn’t favorably impressed. I don’t suppose I’d gone more than three miles before I caught sight of the horse, but it seemed as if I’d been walking for a week.

Not sure how this ended up in my library; it was I think an impulse purchase at a convention. The author is a fascinating figure in his own right; the book is a rollicking Dark Ages story of a bard who turns warrior and defender of the vulnerable, which would qualify as straight historical fiction, were it not for the first chapter in which the Little Folk put the protagonist under a geas which compels him to be helpful. As usual, the names are completely wrong, but the story is a decent fist at imagining historical France in the 6th or 7th century, and, as mentioned already, it is rollicking good fun. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2019. Next on that pile is Null States, by Malka Older.

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