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Three Hearts and Three Lions (Operation Otherworld #2.5)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,882 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threatened the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, were poised to overthrow the realms of light.
And alone against the armies of Chaos stood one man, the knight of Three Hearts and Three Lions. Carlsen, a twentieth century man snatched out of time to become again the legendary Holger D
hardcover, 181 pages
Published 1961 by Doubleday & Company, Inc. (first published October 1953)
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Gabriel Morais Want to know where Gygax got the inspiration for D&D everything? Look here.
It was like reading a kick ass D&D adventure!

Community Reviews

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PoulAnderson-intro v2

Photobucket"Don't play coy with me Mr. 'one middle name isn't good enough for me.' What the hell does R.R. stand for anyway?"

"Rich and Ridiculously famous." Photobucket

Photobucket"Why you arrogant S.O...."

"Just kidding, Poul. Now what do you want?" Photobucket

PoulAnderson-1 v2

JRRTolkein-3 v2
JRRTolkein-4 v2
JRRTolkein-5 v2
Dan Schwent
Oct 15, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Holger Carlsen is transported to another Earth, where he is destined to play a part in the war between Law and Chaos. Assisting him are Hugi, a dwarf, and Alianora, a swan maiden. Can they overcome the forces of Chaos and get Holger home?

I got this from Netgalley.

Since I've been wanting to read this for several ice ages, since I first got into Dungeons and Dragons and, later, Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion craziness, it had a lot to live up to. Yeah, it was kind of a disappointment.

Three He
Aug 02, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Anderson’s novel The High Crusade, I remarked how I wondered if Anderson was influenced by Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Twain must have influenced Three Hearts and Three Lions as the basis of the two stories are so close (there is even a direct reference to Twain’s work).

Poul Anderson was born in America but was of Scandinavian ancestry and his mother moved the family to Denmark to live for a time prior to World War II when they all moved back to the s
Sep 21, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was charmed from the get-go for I knew that this was a classic, more SF/F Andersonian mix, a retelling of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and that is exactly what I got.

There's plenty of old adventure that's a little less nuts than White's Arthurian adventures, with a bit more in the straight adventure arena, including a sphinx/troll Scene, clever science fixes for epic battles, swooning women, time travel, witches, Faery courts, dragons, hidden memories and unbreakable promises.
Nov 29, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
“Wave mechanics already admits the possibility of one entire cosmos coexisting with ours. It was not hard to write the equations for an infinity of such parallel worlds. By logical necessity the laws of nature would vary from one to another. Therefore, somewhere in the boundlessness of reality, anything you can imagine must actually exist!”

As in the The Broken Sword Poul Anderson likes to back up his fantasy with some science. I am not sure why but it does add to the enjoyment of the book if you
Aug2011: I've read this maybe half a dozen times in the past 40 years & still love it. In the tradition of an Arthurian legend, a modern man is dumped into a fantasy world with abilities & limits that he doesn't understand well. He winds up on a quest with some very interesting characters, faces challenges both internal & external, & winds it all up in a rather abrupt fashion. I can never quite decide if I like the ending or not as the realism of it is somewhat at odds with the t ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I suppose many of my friends here will wonder at the rating I've given this book. Looking at my screen name you can probably tell I like the paladin character. Reading this book I find myself wondering if possibly Gary Gygax may have been influenced in the creation of the Dungeons and Dragons Paladin by this book. Holger Carlsen is definitely a Paladin.

There is a dearth of good books about Paladins (I actually have several in various stages of completion...pray for me. I need to complete them).
Nov 13, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was first published as a novella in 1953, and later expanded into a full novel in 1961. It is among the "educational and inspirational reading" listed in the famous Appendix N of Gary Gygax's Dungeon Masters Guide, and the influence it had on Dungeons and Dragons will be obvious. Michael Moorcock also admitted that he cribbed his ideas about an epic struggle between Law and Chaos (rather than Good and Evil) from Anderson's work, so this book is, in a way, an ancestor of the Elric stories an ...more
I was already partway through The Broken Sword, which is deeply inspired by Norse sagas, when I accidentally picked this book up -- I only meant to read a couple of pages, figure out how long it might take me to read it. I ended up reading it pretty much all in one go, in less than two hours total. I found it more absorbing than The Broken Sword -- though admittedly I read Three Hearts and Three Lions when I was bright and awake, and when I started The Broken Sword it was nearly bedtime -- and t ...more

This was an extremely basic fantasy novel. It felt like the author was reading the following handbook:

The Idiots Guide to Writing a Fantasy Novel

1. Choose your Hero. Preferably a male. Someone with strong, chiseled features.

2. Put your Hero in an awkward, fantastical, situation. (In Poul's case, he transported his lead character to another world riddled with a war between magical beings and non magical beings.)

3. Send your Hero on a quest. And another one. And another one. In fact, send
Jan 02, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A modern man, fighting for the underground in Denmark during World War II, is snatched into another world. He does not initially understand this fantasy world, but it seems like he really belongs there; he understands the language, and finds that he is a brave knight capable of sword-fighting, jousting, and spooking his enemies.

The story is wonderful, but the audiobook narration by Bronson Pinchot is absolutely marvelous. I am simply amazed by the narrator, as he alternates between multiple acce
Jan 26, 2012 Emy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is often heralded as one of the forebears of the fantasy genre, though it usually eclipsed by Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which was published little more than a year later.

There were parts of Three Hearts and Three Lions where I was genuinely interested in what was happening, and where I was excited to see what would happen next. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition between Holger's modern views and the advances of science with the pseudo-Carolingian world. Not to mention the tongue-i
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chosen for inclusion in both David Pringle's "Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels" and Cawthorn & Moorcock's "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books," "Three Hearts and Three Lions" had long been on my "must read someday" list. This compactly written epic of "hard fantasy" was first serialized in "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" in 1953 and released in an expanded book format in 1961. Author Poul Anderson was seemingly well suited to write this tale. The son of Scandinavian parents, a ...more
Not since I read the great epic The Broken Sword have I read any of this author's fantasy and I was hoping to be wowed a lot more than I was.

The story was okay but had a few little quirks that detracted from my enjoyment such as the pointless Scottish accents of the protagonists two travelling companions and the boundless chauvinism that made me wince when I thought what I female reader might think reading this.

It was interesting to see how this had such a strong influence on Michael Moorcock t
Althea Ann
Originally published in 1953, this book was selected for reprint as part of the "Fantasy Masterworks" series, so I thought I would check it out.

Holger Carlsen is a Danish-American engineer, who, while involved in a daring attempt to smuggle people out of Nazi-occupied Denmark, finds himself mysteriously transported to a medieval-esque land on the border of Faerie. He awakes naked, with no memory of how he arrived in this place - but finds a knight's steed and trappings sitting next to him, ready
Jul 30, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for years and I never get tired of it. I think I've read it 5-6 times and every time I take something different away. Always in my top 10!
Ben Loory
Dec 24, 2015 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He rode out on the wold, and it was as if dawn rode with him.
Jan 27, 2017 Suzannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved the very first Poul Anderson book I read (THE HIGH CRUSADE obvs - go and read it!) and was faintly disappointed by the second.

Holger is an ordinary twentieth century Danish bloke right up until the moment he blacks out in a WWII gunfight on a lonely beach, and wakes up in a parallel medieval fantasy universe where everyone seems to have heard of him but no one can tell him who he is. Assisted by a dwarf, a girl who can turn into a swan, and a smooth-tongued knight who may or may not hav
Henry Brown
I didn't realize this was fantasy when I found this used book at a flea market as a teenager... but then, I didn't know much about genres. I guess I figured it was a SciFi/time travel book, like an adult version of Conetticut Yankee. I certainly had no idea it was written in the early '50s and, until tonight, had no clue it influenced Dungeons & Dragons.

I did find it fully enjoyable, engrossing, and leaving me wanting more when I finished it in record time. So much so that I bought other boo
Mary Catelli
One of the classics of the fantasy genre. It opens with the first-person narrator recounting how Holger Carlsen, a Dane, had come to America for education and worked for the same company as the narrator -- until World War II, when he went back to Denmark to work for the resistance. Except that at one point, trying to cover an escape, pinned down by Nazi forces, he suffers a head wound and wakes up to find himself in an old growth forest. With hawks. And a bear. He could believe the others, but t ...more
Ryan St george
Sep 02, 2015 Ryan St george rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poul Anderson far exceeds all of his fantasy contemporaries of his time.

Interesting characters with quality characterization! It's hard to believe that this book was written so long ago.

If you enjoy classic fantasy featuring knights, dragons, fey, magic, and an unforgettable quest look no further! Absolutely the highest recomendation!
Jan 01, 2013 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Very episodic, but a great yarn. Been meaning to read this for quite a while; glad I picked this one to start the year off.
Robert Defrank
Jul 08, 2017 Robert Defrank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, up the action and make the medieval magical metaphysics real and you've got Three Hearts and Three Lions. Holger Carlson, a Dane trained as an engineer in America and who later returned to Denmark, working in the underground to combat the Nazis, is miraculously transported into a fantastic version of the past, where Medieval fantasy is real.

Anderson brilliantly captures the feel of this world, impacting against a modern-minded man of today. Holge
Mar 18, 2017 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was one of the few books in the Appendix N list that I had not read. Its inspiration for D&D is obvious. It is a good story, what I expect from Anderson. I think its time to track down the rest of these and see where they take me.
Rebecca Clyburn
I read this because the law and chaos system within are what DnD's system is based on. I was very distracted by the rapey feelings Holger had for Alianora, who he first describes as a child, and then falls in love with over the story.
Sep 05, 2012 Brady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, appendix-n
Good, fun old-fashioned fantasy. It came into being the same year as Lord of the Rings, and there's humor to get from the discrepancies between the two. The hero gets in a riddle game with a monster in this book too; but the riddles are less like cerebral antique rhymes and more like fifth grade obnoxious.

"What's green, grows around the house and has wheels?"
"Grass. I lied about the wheels."

That's really in the book. No joke.

This is cliche fantasy parody from 62 years ago - way before you'd expe
This is a much-recommended classic of the fantasy field, and it's easy to see the influence it had on subsequent work (including Dungeons and Dragons as well as books). The dwarf, for example, has a heavy Scots accent, which in the audiobook version becomes annoyingly incomprehensible at times, though I don't think I missed anything too important.

It isn't a feminist book, in much the same way that Starship Troopers isn't a pacifist book, and Farnham's Freehold isn't a socialist book. The women
Doc Opp
When I was about 25 I watched Bladerunner for the first time because so many of my friends raved about it. I was disappointed. Everything was so cliche. Later, I realized that at the time Bladerunner came out, nothing in it was cliche - but the movie was so trailblazing that everybody else copied what it did. The reason I didn't find it powerful was because I'd seen all those imitations, and so none of the amazing novelty of the original felt novel - it was too familiar.

That's how I felt reading
“Perhaps his destiny had too much momentum to end here.”

A 1953 fanciful retelling of the legend of (view spoiler) by a master of science fiction. As a result he can’t seem to help applying scientific analysis to the vagaries of magic.

“In Holger’s home world, physical forces were strong and well-understood, mental-magical forces weak and unmanageable. In this universe. The opposite held true. Both … were endless struggles between Law and Chaos.”

True to its medieval
Nov 23, 2010 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Poul Anderson fantasy book I've read, and it was enjoyably engaging. I looked forward to my next reading session with it, in spite of the fact that the book itself is in terrible condition. I received it as part of a big box of old, hand-me-down books, and my main concern was that pages might be missing. Fortunately that wasn't the case.

The lead character "wakes up" in a fantasy world, and discovers that he's recognized by the other characters. How he deals with a world where m
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Pseudonym A. A. Craig, Michael Karageorge, Winston P. Sanders, P. A. Kingsley.

Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories. He received numerous a
More about Poul Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Operation Otherworld (3 books)
  • Operation Chaos (Operation Otherworld, #1)
  • Operation Luna (Operation Otherworld, #2)
  • A Midsummer Tempest

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“The same fight was being waged, here the Nazis and there the Middle World; but in both places, Chaos against Law, something old and wild and blind at war with man and the works of man.” 0 likes
“So: between his home world and this, some connection existed. Not only the astronomy and geography showed parallels, the very details of history did. The Carl of this world could not be identical with the Charlemagne of his, but somehow they had fulfilled corresponding roles. The mystics, dreamers, poets, and hack writers of home had in some unconscious way been in tune with whatever force linked the two universes; the corpus of stories which they gradually evolved had been a better job of reporting than they knew. Doubtless” 0 likes
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