The Lady of the Winds
& Science Fiction
Features a story by Poul Anderson The Lady of the Winds,
a story of Cappen Varra.
Reviewed by Chris Markwyn, Tangent
Cappen Varra, bard, lover, and rogue, is the hero of this fantasy story
by the late Poul Anderson. Fleeing the wrath of the sorcerer Nerigo, whom
he has cuckolded, Cappen finds himself trapped in the mountains of the
Uryuk Ubur, faced with a choice between deadly winter storms if he continues
north, and certain death at the hands of Nerigo if he returns to the Empire.
Only by trying to appease the wrath of the goddess Aiala, the mistress
of the winds and air who has created the deadly storms, will Cappen be
able to escape. Cappen is an engaging character, who has previously appeared
in the Thieves' World anthologies edited by Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey,
and his adventures here are told with the clarity and stern poetry that
has always distinguished Anderson's stories. Aiala herself is a memorable
creation, vain, ill-tempered, and foolish, but always portrayed with a
dignity and power befitting her divine status, and Cappen's attempts to
flatter her without bringing her wrath directly on himself are highly
entertaining. This is one of Anderson's lighter fantasies, lacking much
of the grim Nordic gloom of The Broken Sword or his recent War of the
Gods; less serious than those tales, more of an entertainment, and highly
Review copyright Mark Watson, 2001:
In Analog October 2001 Anderson produced a Larry Niven kzin story, and
here he provides/ed a fantasy tale of a bard by the name of Cappen Varra,
whereof those of you whose reading perchance covers the landscape of the
mind beknown as 'fantasy' may be familiar through the 'Thieves World'
books edited by Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey. I only know this from the
editorial introduction, as I tend to avoid fantasy like the plague.
The bard, harp in hand, is introduc-ed struggling through a range most
mountainous, a dreadful storm in his face. Whereupon and verily he is
met by a lady of an ethereal nature, whom he must persuade to bestow upon
him and his colleagues the gift of continuing their journey through the
treacherous winter pass.
Give me my due, I did manange to turn the pages - or rather, click the
thumb-wheel for the next screen, and this wasn't easy as the bumper size
of the issue was constipating my Cassiopeia. The story seemed fairly bog-standard,
but I should suggest you hie thee away to pastures elsewhere (such as
www.tangentonline.com) if you want to find a review written by someone
who likes fantasy tales.
of Her Paths" by Ian Watson
"The Lady of the Winds" by Poul Anderson
"About Face" by John Morressy
"The Cats Pajamas" by James Morrow
"Queen for a Day" by Albert E. Cowdrey
"Legerdemain" by Jack OConnell
"Fore!" by Ray Bradbury
"In Glory Like Their Star" by Gene Wolfe
"Other People" by Neil Gaiman
"Creature" by Carol Emshwiller
here to download the story in PDF format.]
Last Revised: April 2000.