Three Hearts and Three Lions
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Three Hearts and Three Lions (Operation Otherworld #2.5)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,727 ratings  ·  101 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...more
hardcover, 181 pages
Published 1961 by Doubleday & Company, Inc. (first published September 1953)
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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

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JRRTolkein-5 v2
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
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

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...more
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...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
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!
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...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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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
Dan Higdon
Published about the same time as LoTR, this book draws much more on Frankish/Norman mythology (including King Arthur and Charlemagne) than it does on Saxon/Norse mythology (like LoTR does).

With that said, this book is an interesting read and a curious look at many fantasy conventions that shaped the world of the famous RPG, Dungeons&Dragons. For all you who wondered why D&D had so many non-Tolkien elements, this book (and Moorcock's "Elric" saga) might give you some answers.

It's a short...more
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...more
This book was too long on my to-read list, and I'm glad I finally got to it. It's hard to make a list of just how many authors this book influenced, but at a pinch:

Michael Moorcock - he's explicitly acknowledged the influence of this book on the Elric series, and clearly the Melniboneans stem from Anderson's Faerie


The Order of the Stick - The dwarf with the heavy brogue.

The Cross-time Engineer

After 60 years, this book still feels fairly modern. Some might adopt a "been there, done that" a...more
Matthew Stewart
Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions" is hit-and-miss, an effort in which the sum isn't greater than its parts.

A man transported to another world.

An epic battle between Good and Evil.

A series of encounters with a witch, a dragon, a giant, a werewolf, a nixie, an army of cannibals and a troll en route to the final battle against Evil.

That should be a blast, right?


Anderson's novel is too dense. So much happens in the text that it results in a lack of gravitas or wonder.

The author al...more
A rather identical precursor to "Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold" by Terry Brooks, this was written some 40 years earlier and is a comfortable and easy read, lowering my IQ by a mere handful of points.
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.
Damn, I loved this book when I was about 12. I don't want to read it again and risk spoiling the memory.
Sep 06, 2008 TheRose rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Very interesting, well-written yarn.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: A Reader's Guide to Fantasy
Shelves: fantasy, novels, fiction
This is an entertaining tale of a twentieth century man, Holger Carlsen, suddenly plunged into a magical medieval world where he gains a dwarf and a swan-may as companions and Morgan le Fay as his adversary, along the way battling werewolves, trolls, elves and giants. I do like the way Carlsen's knowledge as an engineer comes into play, as in this encounter with a dragon:

Downward the monster slanted, overhauling them with nightmare speed. Holger glanced back again and saw smoke and flame roll fr...more
Rafal Jasinski
Lektura dość przyjemna, jakkolwiek na żadnym poziomie nie zaskakująca. Jest to w pewnym stopniu zrozumiałe, że sięgając do książki, uznawanej za jedną z podstawowych lektur kanonu fantastycznego, ponad pięćdziesiąt lat od daty jej powstania, nie da się uniknąć uczucia, że "wszystko to już było".

Dodatkowo, znajomość - chociażby pobieżna - legend arturiańskich, sag skandynawskich i najbardziej popularnych (jak to dzisiaj brzmi?) "chansons de geste", (plus innej klasyki, w postaci "Jankesa na dworz...more
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...more
What if you were a Hero of whom Legends Speak, and didn't know it? Holger Carlsen is one of these heroes: Ogier the Dane, who first appears in the lays and chansons de geste of the late medieval period

Holger Carlsen is, so he thinks, a 20th century engineer, from Denmark but practicing his profession in the United States when World War II breaks out. Carlsen returns home to help the resistance fighters as best he can, but on one crucial mission--assisting someone critical to the freedom movement...more
A likeable read, with nice, compact prose that does just what it does and nothing more. Perhaps because the writer is mainly a science fiction writer the conceptual nature of the traditional fantasy shines through. I enjoyed this. As mentioned in the Asimovs review, the prose's anachronisms are completely unforced and natural. I would suggest this as a book for a translator's library.

For readers who approach fantasy as a means of heady, almost dionysiac relief from the real world, this is likely...more
This was actually a more fun (and more readable) story than I expected based on The Broken Sword. That was a tale told as if it were an old legend, almost a British version of Beowulf. Other than writing the dialogue to sound more like what it would to the ears of someone from the 20th century, the language of this one is more modern and thus easier to read. While I appreciated the effort Poul Anderson put into The Broken Sword, I have to admit it's more fun not to have to work as much at compre...more
My first thought after reading this book was "Hey, that was fun." There's nothing particularly original here, and every character, with the possible exception of the main hero, is an instantly recognizable genre trope, or a familiar borrowing from traditional mythology, pulling heavily from the legends of Arthur and Charlemagne. Still, these familiar people and places are executed very well, the dialogue and pacing is smooth, but most of all it's our hero that makes this book memorable. Our hero...more
This novel seems to be at sixes and sevens with itself, much like its protagonist. Finding himself in an alternate world/universe/history, Holger brings his earthbound intellect to bear while struggling to deal with odd memories that keep bubbling to the surface. Beset by lovely women, he eagerly engages in sex with them or gets childishly cross when such encounters are thwarted. But he’s reluctant to get emotionally attached to the eager, lusty swan-maiden accompanying him because he doesn’t wa...more

The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realms of Light. Holger Carlsen, a bemused and puzzled twentieth-century man mysteriously snatched out of time, finds himself the key figure in the conflict. Arrayed against him are the dragons, giants and elven warriors of the armies of Chaos, and the beautiful sorceress Morgan le Fay. On his side is a vague prophecy, a quarrelso

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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover and information 9 163 Nov 06, 2012 09:52AM  
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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
More about Poul Anderson...
Tau Zero The Boat of a Million Years The Broken Sword The High Crusade Trader to the Stars

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