I’m sure I must at some point have read Poul Anderson, possibly sci-fi rather than fantasy, but if I have it hasn’t been for ages and obviously didn’t leave a huge impression. So when looking for fantasy works to read as part of a challenge, I scoured our bookshelves and came across Three Hearts & Three Lions. I don’t consider myself a shallow person (who does?) but I will confess that what first drew me to this book was the very lovely cover (by Paul Gregory). It has a knight in shining armour. It has a rather handsome horse. Most importantly, it has what appears to be a dragon. How could I resist?

This is the story of Holger Carlsen, who, while fighting the Germans on a Danish beach in the middle of WWII, suddenly finds himself transported to a completely different world. He quickly finds the above mentioned horse, handily supplied with clothing and weaponry, and sets off to find his way home. He comes across a variety of mythical characters, including a witch, a dwarf (with a suspiciously Scottish turn of phrase if you ask me) and a young woman who can turn into a swan. He also discovers that a Saracen may be looking for him…..

This is good fun. Holger’s search for a way home becomes a quest of an entirely different sort as it becomes clear to him that he may not be quite who he thought he was.  It is humourous in places (my favourite line = “Big women had no business acting kittenish” – which I shall try to keep in mind), and I enjoyed the protrayal of the tricksy Faerie Court very much.

It is simply a great story, and certainly one I plan to re-read it at some point in the future. The Book God has several other Poul Anderson books so don’t be surprised if you see the name again.

This has been my third read for the Once Upon a Time II challenge.