Another Twenty Epics review, this time at Tangent Online
My favorite story in this collection is “Bound Man” by Mary Robinette Kowal. Ripped from the past while playing with her two children in her courtyard, legendary “warrior-god” Li Reiko finds herself six-thousand years in the future where she has been summoned to slay the Troll King. HalldÃ³r the warrior-priest has invoked her presence to save his lord, Duke LÃ¡rus, after bandits attack. HalldÃ³r agrees to become her bound man if she will save LÃ¡rusâ€™s life with her healing power. But once thatâ€™s accomplished and she awakens back at their village, she refuses to fulfill her destiny and slay the Troll King. That is, until the trolls attack and take the village women hostage.
Thereâ€™s a lot more to this fine story than that brief synopsis, but I donâ€™t want to spoil it. Written in lucid prose, this tale has the true feel of an epic. And while it has a most satisfactory conclusion, I felt like I was reading the first chapter of a fast-paced novel getting off to an excellent start. I donâ€™t know if the author has any intention of becoming a novelist, but I have no doubt she could. Kowal is a talent to watch.
In fact, I have already begun plotting a novel set in this world, but it didn’t occur to me until after the story was written.