The House of the Stag is a prequel to Kage Baker’s first fantasy novel The Anvil of the World. 

The novel tells of the life of Gard, a half demon foundling.  As a teenager he fights back against the Riders who are enslaving his peace-loving tribe, and is banished when he contributes to the death of his adopted brother.  He is captured by a group of mages who live in a mountain.  This is the tale of how he escapes and resists the various attempts to enslave him again.  This is also the tale of the Saint, the promised child who leads the remnents of Gard’s old tribe to safety.

Most people reading this novel will have read The Anvil of the World (in which Gard and the Saint are near legends twenty years on), and know how the story ends, so The House of the Stag is a character development story.  It was interesting and intriging, but I found it lacked tension.

Kage Baker has created a really interesting world, it has a different feel than most fantasy worlds, probably because she has mostly written science fiction.  Her characters (even the minor ones) are interesting, and their interactions are often humorous.  I did enjoy The House of the Stag, and I hope she writes more stories set in this world, but with new characters, or new adventures of old charcters.

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