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Fortress of Ice (Fortress Series #5)

Fortress of Ice (Fortress Series #5)

4.6 11
by C. J. Cherryh

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Two surprising allies have emerged to aid the embattled ruler in a struggle he must win: Cefwyn's two young sons. Aewyn Marhanen is the prince destined to rule. Aewyn's half-brother, Elfwyn Aswydd—the bastard son of the king and the sorceress Tarien Aswydd—has spent years unaware of his parentage, yet now it is his time to emerge and claim


Two surprising allies have emerged to aid the embattled ruler in a struggle he must win: Cefwyn's two young sons. Aewyn Marhanen is the prince destined to rule. Aewyn's half-brother, Elfwyn Aswydd—the bastard son of the king and the sorceress Tarien Aswydd—has spent years unaware of his parentage, yet now it is his time to emerge and claim the gifted birthright he's been denied for so long.

But a dark, sinister magic has crept close to the young man and seized hold of the kingdom. Nothing is as it seems, as the bonds of family strain against the powerful forces that would see them undone—and the battle is joined to unmask and destroy the malevolence that threatens to unhinge the king's peaceful and fragile reign.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Religious and ancient magical conflicts threaten the fragile peace of the divided kingdom of Ylesuin in Cherryh's fifth Fortress fantasy (after 2000's Fortress of Dragons), an intense coming-of-age story. Aewyn, the 15-year-old heir to the throne, has been raised apart from his illegitimate brother, Otter (aka Elfwyn), who resides with Gran, a hedge-witch. The boys, potentially future enemies, adore their father, King Cefwyn, who encourages their friendship by asking Otter to live with them after he turns 16. Almost immediately problems occur with the Quinalt, a religious sect that abhors Otter's mixed heritage. Strange encounters in a haunted library and a nightmarish visit from Otter's mother, an angry sorceress who has escaped from a tower prison, point to worse trouble to come. A helpful introduction will guide newcomers through the complex plot. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
After a long struggle against treacherous rivals, Cefwyn at last rules Ylesuin, at liberty to watch his son and heir, Aewyn, grow into his majority. Yet Cefwyn has some cause for worry, for Aewyn's best friend is Otter, Cefwyn's illegitimate son by the Sihhe-sorceress Tarien, one of the innately magical beings whose struggle to rule has marked the world's history. When a series of dreams leads the two boys on separate journeys, Cefwyn must decide whether they follow a path that leads toward peace or renewed war. The latest addition to Cherryh's popular "Fortress" series (after Fortress of Dragons) follows the fortunes of a new generation of warriors and wielders of forbidden magic while simultaneously telling the coming-of-age story of a pair of brothers, separated by their differences yet united by their loyalty to each other. With strong appeal for fans of epic fantasy, this saga from a best-selling, three-time Hugo Award winner belongs in most fantasy collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/06]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This title marks Cherryh's return to high fantasy. It's been 16 years since the final moments of Fortress of Dragons (HarperCollins, 2000), and Cefwyn now sits on the throne as the just ruler of a tenuously united kingdom. He begins to look toward a future filled with the promise of good things he sees in his two sons: Aewyn, the 15-year-old rightful heir to the throne, and Elfwyn, an illegitimate child of Cefwyn and the dark sorceress Tarien Aswydd. Raised by the good witch Gran, Elfwyn has grown up unaware of his noble lineage. But Cefwyn claims him and takes him to live at the capital, where he becomes fast friends with his half brother. As much as Elfwyn enjoys his new life, the dark side of his parentage constantly pulls on him to release some powerful magic that could destroy everything his father worked so hard to create. Elfwyn's character, teetering so desperately between two very different paths, will draw readers into this dramatic and magical coming-of-age story. Much of the early part of the book relies on political intrigue and constant references to the history of the land; wisely, Cherryh includes a short introduction that provides a quick summary of the backstory. The ending hinges entirely on the strength of Elfwyn's character and his ability to make the right choice between good and evil.-Matthew L. Moffett, Ford's Theatre Society, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Fortress Science Fiction Series , #5
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.05(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Fortress of Ice

By C. J. Cherryh

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 C. J. Cherryh
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0380979047

Chapter One

They had a panful of jam-filled treats, and tea from the kettle, the baker's boy being so obliging as to run a heavy tray straight upstairs, and if they spoiled their supper, they were satisfied. The royal table hosted the duke of Osenan tonight, and Aewyn was ever glad enough to forage and not to have to sit still at his father's table, at some long-winded state dinner. The fireside in his own room was ever so much nicer, himself and his brother lying on the rug by a well-fed fire, having dessert first. There were two kinds of sausage for later, three kinds of cheese, and a crusty loaf, besides their treats, and the tea, which they drank down by the cupful.

They were warm again, after their battle. The wind howled about the tall windows, sleet rattling against the diamond panes, and they had drawn the drapes against the cold. The fire before them made towers and battlements of coals, glowing red walls that tumbled and sent up sparks into the dark of the flue, which they imagined as the dark of night above the world.

It was Aewyn's own room, his private realm--at fifteen going on sixteen he had gained this privacy from his father: his own quarters, near if not next to the king's and the queen's chambers, but with his own door and a separate foyer room for his guard and a second small sleeping room for his two constant domestic servants--they were his father'sguard and his father's staff, in all truth, but they were the same men who had been attending him since he was first out and about the halls and the courtyards on his own recognizance, so they were as good as his.

Most of all he had his own sitting room and his own bedchamber, and this meant Nurse had finally retired to her own numerous children down in Dary, beyond the city walls.

And that meant he no longer had anyone to make him sit in a chair, at a table, like a proper boy, and be served by servants. Otter preferred the fireside, and the warm stones, and the prince of Ylesuin found the close warmth of the fire a thorough delight, the best place in the room. They had their tray of food beside them, and a pitcher of watered wine--very watered, it was--and their book, which Otter read to them both--a record, really, of the properties and the building of the royal lodge at Maedishill. The account had all its local legendry, and it had maps, the most wonderful colored and whimsically detailed maps of a place Aewyn had known from earliest childhood.

"Here," Aewyn said, tracing a line with his finger, "here is the spring and its outflow. And just down from here, it joins this larger brook." In his mind was a wonderful place, on an autumn day when he was about five. He had sailed leaf-barges down the current from the spring, to see them wreck in the great rapids of the great brook--he could stride across it now--where the water flowed over rounded rocks. He would never, now, admit to having sailed leaf-boats, but he cherished the memory of them. He snatched a bite of sweet and pointed with the stick of crust to the place where the rapids ended and the brook ran by the lodge. "A falls there, with an old log. See, even the log is on the map. Brother Siene drew it. I remember him. He had a white beard down to his belt. He was caretaker there until I was seven."

"Why do you have a map of the lodge?"

"Well, because Brother Siene loved to do maps, and he lived there alone most of the time, so he just did. But now anyone who ever wants to know about Maedishill can look in this book and see the lodge and know all its properties, and how far they go, and where the next holding starts. It makes it a legal record, because Brother Siene wrote a date on it, and the library has a date when the book came here. That proves, for instance, that it's my father's brook. It starts here, where it comes out of the rocks, so he has title over it until it reaches the boundary with the farmers, and if it had any fish in it--it doesn't, no matter that Brother Siene drew them in--they would be his only until they reach the boundary."

"The fish wouldn't know that," Otter remarked, so soberly Aewyn had to laugh.

"Fish don't know anything."

"I don't know if they do. Maybe they do." Otter touched the painted fish with his fingers, ever so carefully. "I like his laughing fish."

"So do I," Aewyn said, remembering sun on water, sparkling rays through thick green leaves. "My mother and I used to go there for a month before Papa could get time to come, and when he did, everything would change. Messengers, messengers at all hours, and lords coming in for visits with dozens of servants, all full of arguments, with papers to read, and if two came, there wasn't room for the second one, and there was dust all over every-thing if there wasn't mud, just from the horses. They'd trample the grass down and spoil the meadow, they'd get drunk in the great room, and their sons would be out chasing the rabbits and trying to shoot them. Mother had the duke of Marisyn's sons and his servants rounded up by her guard, and Papa--my father--said if he had his choice, he was going to run away to Far Sassury and not tell anybody where he was going. But the next year, the grass would be green again and the brook would have its moss back, and it would be just us, until Papa came."


Excerpted from Fortress of Ice by C. J. Cherryh Copyright © 2006 by C. J. Cherryh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

C. J. Cherryh—three-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award—is one of today's best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers of science fiction and fantasy. The author of more than fifty novels, she makes her home in Spokane, Washington.

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Fortress of Ice (Fortress Series #5) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
King Cefwyn raised his son and heir Aewyn at the royal court at Guelemara while his older child by a few months, illegitimate offspring Elfwyn, was raised by Gran the hedge-witch in the countryside of Amefel where she called him Otter. The two royals visited Otter often and now the sixteen years old Elfwyn has been brought to Guelemara to live with his sire and half-brother though the monarch realizes that the two siblings could become adversaries. He believes with his guidance Elfwyn will be loyal and helpful to Aewyn once the younger is on the throne.---------------- Both teens admire their father and become friends as well as brothers in spite of all that divided them. However, out of love and good intentions inadvertently King Cefwyn has brought trouble to his kingdom. The Quinalt religious sect demand that Otter leave the court as his maternal breeding is an abomination to these purist fanatics they will do what it takes to insure this happens including assassination if need be. Worse, Otter's mother, one of the Aswydd sisters and an outraged perhaps insane sorceress, has escaped her incarceration and is coming for her boy and to kill her former lover.---------------- The fifth ¿Fortress¿ fantasy is a terrific relationships drama that fans of the series will fully appreciate as everyone will wonder whether Elfwyn will choose his mother or his father. Though a short introduction will help newcomers understand the back story, this reviewer recommends obtaining the four previous novels to better savor this exciting saga especially the interrelationships between the various key players all are fully developed, but their conjoining pasts are critical to this plot. C.J. Cherryh provides a fabulous tale testing the loyalties of the two teenage brothers.------------------ Harriet Klausner
CEANNTIGHERN More than 1 year ago
I usually get bored, and lose interest after the 3rd or 4th book in a series, but not so with this one. Every time I think I know where this one is going, and have it figured out, the story takes another twist off in another completely unexepected direction. It's fresh with every turn of the page, and always leaves me in anticipation of my next opportunity to nestle in by the fire, feed the pigeons on the ledge, and lose myself in the world of a bygone era.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Given that this is only the newest book in a series I cant say very much without giving away previous plots. Suffice it to say that C.J. Cherryh is every bit as good with fantasy as she is with Science Fiction. This series of books remains one of my favorite of all time and I can not wait for the next in the series.
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legbone More than 1 year ago
the story continues but is too wordy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe it's finally here, it's like another Ruins of Ambria book coming out or something. Woooopeeeee!