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    Review of BLOODTIDE by Melvin Burgess

    TOR, 1999

    Val Volson is king of London and a man with a dream. He will unite London and then conquer the rest of Britain bringing back the old days of civilization. To do this, he arranges a marriage between his daughter and his only rival in gangland London. When the god Odin appears at the wedding, it becomes clear that more is at stake than a simple marriage. The groom, Conor, his wife, Signy, and her brother, Siggy, are cast into a conflict that will tear all of England apart.

    Author Melvin Burgess creates an intriguing interpretation of the 'magic returns' plot. Genetic replicators can combine human, animal, and even steel into new creations--the half-men. Conor preaches a crusade against the half-men, and is willing to destroy anything to seize and hold more power. Yet true magic also walks. The old gods are walking the world again. Their plans bend the plans of men to the gods' purpose.

    Burgess based BLOODTIDE upon the Icelandic Volsunga Saga and it shows. Not so much in the use of the Norse gods, but in the themes of family slaughter, betrayal, and generation-spanning hatred, these old Icelandic roots show clearly. BLOODTIDE is anything but a heroic romp--instead, tortured characters battle with themselves and each other at the unknown and uncaring pleasure of the gods.

    Two Stars

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