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The Anvil of Ice (The Winter of the World #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  642 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The first volume in The Winter of the World fantasy trilogy, this novel of a young boy's rise to power is set in a world where an ice age threatens a brilliantly imagined world similar to our own.
Mass Market Paperback, 354 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Avon Books (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,356)
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Aug 25, 2007 Carl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Tolkien, myth, prehistory, middle ages
Shelves: fantasysci-fi
This is one of my favorite books ever. Well, I read it in 6th grade, and it could just be that it hit me just so at that point in my life so as to make it one of my favorites forever, but still. MSR has put together an amazing combination of myth/folklore (and he really did his research! Or so I see now that I'm a mythologist), prehistory, and modern fantasy. I've reread this book more times than anything except Lord of the Rings, and maybe Chronicles of Narnia. I like this first installment bes ...more
I love this book so much. It was one of my favourites when I was a teenager. Rereading as an adult, the feeling of the book is far more mythology than fantasy and I think that is where my love of it comes from. It feels like an *old* tale retold rather than modern fiction.

The tale is set during the last ice-age, where the creep of the ice across the land is driven by malign powers who want to see the earth purified by the cessation of all life. There are other powers who oppose the ice, but are
The Anvil of Ice reminds me of a lot of other fantasy I've read -- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin and Magician by Raymond E. Feist, for a start -- in its narration and in the way it begins. Some parts of it I found very interesting and different: the whole idea of the Ice, for one, which I want to know more about.

On the other hand, Kara bothered me. She was introduced in a flash; Alv/Elof cares about her all in a flash; she never seems to do anything significant to the plot. Obviously th
When it comes to fantasy, there's Tolkien, and there are the rest. This series is the very best of the rest in my opinion; there's nothing 'generic-fantasy' about it.

Set in an interglacial period in our own Earth's history, this is the story of the struggles of a group of friends as they try to defeat the powers of the Ice. There's the same haunting sense of the weight of history, the same glimpses of things half-seen, half-known that I found in Tolkien; plus a carefully worked out system of ma
What really stands out about this series for me is the way magic and black-smithery are combined. The way the main character goes about crafting the various artifacts he forges and imbues them with magic is most intricately described.

That elevates it above the average fantasy series it might otherwise have been.
It is possible to forget that the moden fiction novel is a relatively new development. For a very long time, narrative fiction was written in a distinct style with long sentences and dialogue that bordered on the unrealistic. I know some authors did this because they wanted a sense of theatre in the writing, whilst others did so because that's what they were taught.

I suspect Michael Scott Rohan is one of the latter. Anvil Of Ice is meant to be an epic high fantasy story. The hero of utterly unkn
Joshu Fisher
Not too long ago I was asked to provide some recommendations for a reading list for someone. I went to my shelves and started pulling out some classics, some of my favorites, and other just plain important books. Zelazny, Donaldson, Jordan, Sanderson, Rothfuss... I was picking out some stuff with which to provide a pretty good foundation. And then I got to this book. The description of it started with, essentially, "And this is something I've read so many times it's falling apart."

Michael Scott
Jun 21, 2013 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of old-school high fantasy
A veritable classic, this is on my annual read list. Gloriously technical details follow the story of Alv the foundling from his rude thrust into adventure, swirling into world-changing events to culminate in his maturity as he seeks his desires, both noble and base.

A close patterning of Norse tragedy and myth, if you've seen "Ring of the Nibelungs" or know the background legend, much will be familiar. While high fantasy, the protagonist remains essentially human, and is prone (all too often it
A fantasy book that doesn't read like Tolkien and manages to create an interesting and varied world that you want to spend more time in.

The story moves well and keeps you interested with an almost episodic nature that gives you a tour of the world that the author has created. I do feel the author could have expanded a little on the world, however - considering this is the first book and you're in a new world. Heavy exposition would fine I think and given you a bit more texture and background. T
Epic fantasy spliced with native American, classical, and germanic mythology and set during the ice age. Good, but somehow creepy and unpleasant at the same time. Cold. Too cold.
While Michael Scott Rohan sure isn't one of the famous names of fantasy, he's also one of my favourites, and this first book of “The Winter of the World” imho a true masterpiece.
This series is set in our own world, but during the last Ice Age, on the West Coast of North America, realistically described mixing fact and... fantasy, and clearly thanks to a huge amount of knowledge and research on mythology, paleontology and ecology by the author.
But you don't need to be a nerd/scientist type to app
Will Once
I love this book and the rest of the "Winter of the World" trilogy. Michael Scott Rohan spins an enthralling tale of heroism and magic in a Tolkienesque middle earth style landscape.

There is much to enjoy here. Stirring battle scenes. A clever magic system based on blacksmith's hammering metal. Demigods who walk the land disguised as old men or travellers. A troubled main character who makes mistakes and doesn't get everything right. Plot twists throughout to keep you guessing. A neat structure

"The Anvil of Ice"

This was highly recomended to me by a housemate who was greatly influenced by reading it when he was much younger- and I find it very like the books I read when I was reading fiction of this fantasy-style as well, at that age. A meaty book, it qualifies as one of those 'what if' sorts of 'NOT-history' fiction. It creates, out of our own world's facts and myths, a perfectly plausible world in which for the stories and events to happen, without confusing our senses about what we
Nov 13, 2013 Ben rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
In the style of a saga, or an epic chronicle, The Anvil of Ice is quite Tolkienesque in its feel. A blending of history and fiction, the real and the fantastical, Rohan's work set is set in a fictitious prehistoric ice-age in some lost age which draws on elements of real mythos and like Robert E. Howard's Conan series or even The Lord of the Rings takes the conceit that it is an ancient undocumented period of our own world.

I first read this book, and the two sequels, almost twenty-five years ago
John Montagne
Rohan's fantasy series "Of the Winter World" is a fabulous series. It is paleofiction-fantasy, as in most paleofiction works are bent more toward science fiction. His main character is nothing but a herder (though as with many such characters, there's more to him eventually). Rohan's descriptions are very nice, and his writing style is clean and with detail that doesn't clutter yet manages to give us the "high fanasy epic" feel. His magic is subtle in this novel, and very well thought out. It is ...more
Sandy Ferguson
I loved this whole series, THe Winter of the World. Michael Scott Rohan creates a wonderful history of what could have been in the world of the Ice Age. He works with the various mythic archetypes of the Celtic, Germanic and the First Peoples of North America cultures, as well as a world of other powers, to create the epic journey of Alv and his companions who will confront the powers of the Ice.
The characters are wonderful, with Alv Rohan shows us a hero who is more of a force of creation, rath
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is my hands down favorite trilogy--each book much read. So, I'm mot surprised that I'm taken with Rohan's The Anvil of Ice. A Tolken-like Quest. Marvelous mages. Wonderful main character set on a path of discovery, as he masters his magic/art. The dreadful sea-faring Ekwesh, coastal marauders and . . . cannibals. Pleistocene fauna and a living, destructive Ice spirit. Medieval societal structures, with their requisite sword-wielding warriors. What's not to like?

I've picked up the book again after starting it a couple of years ago because I was really impressed by the Spiral series of the same author and was hoping that the book would have some of the same magic in it.

I can't say this is a bad book but it definitely feels like the first one. The writing style is very specific in duplicating the epics and all the character's action are written out in a magniloquent style. This does distract from the plot which is quite decent for an epic.

It is about anot
I didn't really enjoy the first few chapters of this book, which were vague and under detailed, but this book really comes into its own in its later chapters.

The melding of smithing and magic works really well, and the central plot is well structured. What transpires is the personal 'adventure' of the smith, there is an overarching enemy, but as yet it's unclear who that is, there is a love story, but it doesn't take over the narrative, and the central characters comprise a fairly small group t
Based on myths of the endless winter, this novel introduces Elof, orphan turned mage-smith and sets us on the journey to discover who he really is as he starts his long battle with the forces trying to bring about the endless winter. The story is well paced, full of detail and well worth re-reading.

Peopled with men, dwarves and elves in a battle for the survival, it shares elements with other works such as Lord of the Rings and The Thomas Covenant Chronicles, such as journey through a forest wi
It is old good standard fantasy book, but no original or favourite moments. (For me there are may be house of master-blacksmith or dwarfs city. But dwarfs may be described more.)
This book feels like it takes from the standard template - different races warring but small bands come together despite prejudices, long quests to make small moves forward in the plot, just the exact right skills in the growing group of comrades to deal with their situation and accidental meet ups with long lost friends at just the right time. And a love interest that comes in and out of the storyline in 2 pages but never leaves the hero's heart. It's certainly a decent book, but I didn't feel ...more
Chris Jags
This is one of my favorite mythological fantasy sagas. Using plenty of elements from Finnish and Scandinavian mythology (and a fictionalized take on the ice age), this tale follows Elof, apprentice smith, as he struggles against his former mentor, a mastersmith who has ties to powers with interest in purifying the world with an enormous glacial sheet of ice.

Not only is there plenty of high adventure, but the vivid and eloquent writing make even topics that wouldn't normally have kept my attentio
I picked up this trilogy second hand on a whim and I'm very glad I did. The first book has the stately feel of a Germanic epic, but the characters are interesting and well created. It borrows from the tradition without slavishly copying it, which made for a more interesting book in my opinion. I did find the occasional metatextual interjections stating that the story was taken from an ancient text to be slightly irritating as they interrupted the flow of the narrative, but otherwise I thoroughly ...more
I liked the civilisation struggling to survive in the ice-age setting of this three-volume series though I found this book to be slightly awkward, the two subsequent volumes felt more focused.

It's really just your traditional apparently humble lad has hidden gifts and will rise over three books to triumph over bad guys kind of story but with extra blacksmithing involved. However the ice age setting and the use made of myths (Weyland the Smith and Rusalka for instance) appealed to me.
Quite good, but you have to be in the mood for mid 80′s fantasy – lots of descriptions, scenery, not much dialogue, etc. It was a slow start for me, but I quite enjoyed the book and will be tracking town the other two in the series. Lots of stuff about smithcraft – tools used, hitting shit with hammers, stuff about metals… if that’s your thing and you like fantasy this just might be your bag.

Adon Coya
A very good choice to spend three or four days. I especially loved the language he uses, and the writing style that is reminiscent of viking sagas.
Eh, this book was pretty good, but the characters were one-dimensional and the conflict wasn't explained enough to make sense. You sort of root for the main character, but often I couldn't figure out what he was thinking or how his actions affectedt he plot. A good book to read if you like high fantasy/magic and don't care to get too attached to your characters.
This book was well-written, but it didn't grab me, it just felt like dime-a-dozen fantasy with the twist that a poor blacksmith has the magic power (but doesn't know, of course), rather than a poor farmer or labourer. It felt there were too few chapters for a book of its length, and there was no real resolution to the story, the book just ended.
One of the epic rarities amongst fantasy literature.
colorful in its language,
inspirational in its mood
unique in it's motifs and storyline.
Contemporary fantasy literature suffers from lack of verbal beauty and prime ideas, most often repetitive and recycled. I'd resume reading fantasy if I found books like that.
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