Mike's Reviews > Three Hearts and Three Lions
Three Hearts and Three Lions
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 and by extension many other books in the "dark fantasy" genre. Having said that, this book is certainly not a part of the "dark fantasy" genre itself. It draws very heavily on European legends, in particular the romances of King Arthur and of Charlemange, but also Norse mythology. Where The Broken Sword (which Anderson wrote the following year) concentrates on inventing a sort of modernized Norse saga, 3 Hearts and 3 Lions more or less invents a modernized medieval romance. I still like the Broken sword a bit more, although I'd be more comfortable recommending this one to a younger reader. The pace is very rapid and the story is exciting, but more importantly the characters are all interesting and the world they inhabit is highly imaginative, so any fan of fantasy should give this a read.
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