Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three Hearts and Three Lions” as Want to Read:
Three Hearts and Three Lions
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Three Hearts and Three Lions (Operation Otherworld #2.5)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 Ratings  ·  214 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
Paperback, 177 pages
Published December 2003 by Gollancz (first published October 1953)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three Hearts and Three Lions, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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!
The Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. HowardElric of Melniboné by Michael MoorcockThe Sacred Band by Janet E. MorrisSwords and Deviltry by Fritz LeiberThe Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl by Janet E. Morris
Sword and Sorcery
551 books — 384 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The Best Epic Fantasy
2,797 books — 21,906 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Stephen
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
Photobucket
Dan Schwent
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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
...more
Lyn
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Bradley
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Apatt
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Jim
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).
...more
Marquise
3.5 stars rounded up. This wasn't as good as The Broken Sword, and I think Anderson recycled many of the same tropes from that other book without much variation, but it's still an enjoyable high-adventure romp, with more action than character progression (besides the lead character) in the style of the old epics. I liked that the knight quester in this story had very unusual quest companions: a dwarf and a swan-maiden, both of which speak with a Scottish accent (!) that I found hilarious instead ...more
Mike
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lilyan
*Yawns*

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
David
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Manuel Alfonseca
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
ENGLISH: First of all, a clarification: Poul Anderson did not invent the multiverse with this novel. In science-fiction, the space-type multiverse appears first in a 1939 short story by Clifford Simak, later expanded into the 1950 novel The cosmic engineers. The time-type multiverse dates from the short story Branches of time, by David R. Daniels (1934). In fantasy, parallel worlds appear in many earlier works, notably The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis, whose first book was published in 1950 ...more
Nikki
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sandy
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Emy
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Derek
Dec 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: appendix-n
I had heard the name of this book bandied about as a Dungeons and Dragons inspiration, but was surprised to find such striking similarities to Michael Moorcock's writing: an eternal battle of Law and Chaos as metaphysical entities; the idle suggestion of a system of related universes, each a distorted reflection of the others; and a Defender figure fated to walk the worlds, who figures greatly into the Law/Chaos conflict.

Aside from the trappings, the direct Appendix N inspirational value is in t
...more
Bob Rust
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three Hearts and Three Lions a Parallel World fantasy an Earthman is translated from the middle of World War Two into Faerie where he fights the forces of Chaos in a tale whose humor is laced with a conspicuous sexual dis-ease that (along with its religious politics) marks it as a Christian Fantasy.
Anduril81
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hard to believe that even though this came out in 1953, no one has used its setting. The world of the old Carolingian chansons de geste is one that is not plumbed enough for "heroic fantasy", as Master Anderson liked to call it.

This is one of those that does it all - humor (lots of that), pageantry, cosmic sweep, danger, tragedy, true love, beloved characters doing supernatural things, with an author solidly grounded in what makes the natural world go even as he spins us this yarn, while though
...more
Jon Ray
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the only book of this author’s that I read but I enjoyed it immensely. Coming from the understanding that this in part, inspired my all-time favorite role playing game (Dungeons & Dragons), I had certain expectations, yet they were not completely met. On the surface it’s written like most modern day Fantasy, however, it is when this book was written that sets it apart from other Fantasy books for me. I also quite enjoyed the use of language in this book, often stopping to look a ...more
Simon
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
Erica
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
He rode out on the wold, and it was as if dawn rode with him.
Suzannah
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Henry Brown
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Ryan St george
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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!
Thom
Jan 01, 2013 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.
Dorian Hawkmoon
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perchè una gallina attraversa la strada?
Perchè fare il giro del mondo per arrivare all'altro lato richiederebbe troppo tempo.
Robert Defrank
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams
  • The Well of the Unicorn
  • Sea-Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories
  • The Conan Chronicles: Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (The Conan Chronicles, #2)
  • The First Book of Lankhmar
  • The Emperor of Dreams
  • The Complete Compleat Enchanter
  • The Green Pearl and Madouc (Lyonesse, #2-3)
  • The House on the Borderland and Other Novels
  • The Mark of the Beast and Other Horror Tales (Dover Horror Classics)
  • Darker Than You Think
  • The Dragon Waiting
  • Dwellers in the Mirage
  • Mistress of Mistresses
  • Voice of Our Shadow
  • The Malacia Tapestry
  • The Mabinogion Tetralogy
  • Elric
558 followers
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

Other books in the series

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

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Gold-Son
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Regulars
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Childhood's End
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Mirror
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates)
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Raven's Peak (World on Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Swords and Deviltry (Lankhmar, 1)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dracula [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Stinger
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost Voices
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Isle of Blood and Stone
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Spirit Hunters
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Haven (War of the Princes, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Brilliance (Brilliance Saga, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Act Two (Cirque des Immortels, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Better World (Brilliance Saga, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Written in Fire (Brilliance Saga, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Final Act (Cirque des Immortels, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Secret of the Sirens (The Companions Quartet, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Siren
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ocean of Storms
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (Shannara, #1-3)
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Artful
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chains of Command (Frontlines, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Angles of Attack (Frontlines, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Lines of Departure (Frontlines, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Into the Dim
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Kull: Exile of Atlantis
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Fury (Blur Trilogy #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Gears of War  Aspho Fields
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Star Wars: Darth Plagueis
    $7.99 $1.99
  • You Suck (A Love Story, #2)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Chocolate Touch
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Storm (Elemental, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mama Day
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Infinite
    $5.99 $2.49
  • Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Mermaid's Sister
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Boundary Born (Boundary Magic, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Kissed by Darkness (Sunwalker Saga, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Blood Kissed (Lizzie Grace, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Celia and the Fairies
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Last One
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Genesis
    $11.99 $1.99
  • To Honor You Call Us (Man of War, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Wool: The Graphic Novel
    $7.99 $2.99
  • And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Ticker
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard (Barsk, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Concealed (Lakewood, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
“How much of what we dismiss today may have been based on fragmentary observation, centuries ago, before the very existence of a scientific framework began to condition what facts we would and would not discover?” 1 likes
“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! Holger” 1 likes
More quotes…