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Two Ravens

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  66 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Set in Iceland in 1100, this is an effort to capture the tone and mood of the great sagas. The hero is a pagan, striving to maintain his values in a Christian world.
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published January 1st 1977 by Alfred A. Knopf
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Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
For a brief while, back in the mid-'60s, Cecilia Holland was a brilliant new voice doing historical fiction. "Until the Sun Falls", "Rakossy", "Antichrist", "Kings In Winter"--- all brilliant. "Two Ravens" is the last of her novels I found readable, alas. But it is a small gem--- a tragic and subtle account of a stiill-pagan Icelander trying to find a place for himself and deal with his fraught and violent relationship to his father. Holland takes her hero from Iceland to Henry I's Norman Englan ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I loved Great Maria, I loved Two Ravens. Different style of writing, stark, basic even brutal at times but a story I'll long remember. 5+ Stars!
Michael Smith
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Holland has written more than thirty novels in the past forty-plus years, and while all of them have been (to my mind) at least above average, her style has changed somewhat over time. This one is from her “early period,” which means short declarative sentences, a straightforward and unadorned narrative style, and a tendency to under-explain, to let the reader draw his own conclusions as to the characters’ motivations and inner mental workings. I think I could pick up a loose page from any of th ...more
Kathrin Passig
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathrin by: Douglas Nicholas (in an interview)
Shelves: fiction
Die kompakte Erzählweise fand ich schön: "Bjarni fingered a black pawn. On the beach the wind stirred the racks of drying fish like silver leaves. A boy was running up the slope toward the chessplayers. Bjarni looked down at the chesspiece in his hand. The boy reached them, out of breath: Kristjan, Hoskuld’s stepson, Hiyke’s son." Die Handlung mäanderte etwas lahm vor sich hin (was aber bei den Original-Isländersagas auch passiert). Unvernünftige Frauen werden zu oft als Plot-Element eingesetzt ...more
L.   (I Hate Hurricanes)
An odd, rambling, purposeless story about the most dysfunctional family in Iceland. They're trying to kill each other. Then they're trying to kill each other. The Prodigal Son returns. They're trying to kill each other until finally in the end they're trying to kill each other.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Tough, subtle, ultimately tragic tale of Bjarni, an Icelandic viking who hates his father but loves his stepmother. Leaving Iceland gives him no respite, and though he returns to his home too late to confront his father, he is not too soon to replace him. More of Holland's brilliant, hard-boiled early historical fiction.
Jul 03, 2016 marked it as to-read
Read a short story The King of Norway at Clarkesworld whch ended up being unexpectedly fun.

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Pen name used by Elizabeth Eliot Carter.

Cecelia Holland is one of the world's most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists, ranked by many alongside other giants in that field such as Mary Renault and Larry McMurtry. Over the span of her thirty year career, she's written almost thirty historical novels, including The Firedrake, Rakessy, Two Ravens, Ghost on the Steppe, Death of Attila,
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