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The Lady of the Winds

Fantasy & Science Fiction Oct/Nov 2001Fantasy & Science Fiction
Oct/Nov 2001

Features a story by Poul Anderson The Lady of the Winds, a story of Cappen Varra.

Reviewed by Chris Markwyn, Tangent Online:

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 enjoyable.

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.


"One of Her Paths" by Ian Watson
"The Lady of the Winds" by Poul Anderson
"About Face" by John Morressy
"The Cat’s Pajamas" by James Morrow
"Queen for a Day" by Albert E. Cowdrey
"Legerdemain" by Jack O’Connell
"Fore!" by Ray Bradbury
"In Glory Like Their Star" by Gene Wolfe
"Other People" by Neil Gaiman
"Creature" by Carol Emshwiller

[Click here to download the story in PDF format.]


Last Revised: April 2000.