Next: you knew I was going to mention Ellen Kushner, right?


Of course you knew.

kushner thomas


Back in September I posted about the Audible audiobook The Swords of Riverside, which combined Ellen’s Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword with The Fall of the Kings (written in collaboration with Delia Sherman). I’m reminding you of it again, because besides each of these books being excellent in its own right, the combination is a particularly great deal, very frugal for gift-giving.  ( Over 45 hours immersed in the city of Riverside!)

But I also want to remind you of Ellen’s Thomas the Rhymer, and that’s my official recommendation today.  I feel that the Swordspoint books get all the attention — but Thomas the Rhymer  won both the World Fantasy Award, and the Mythopoeic Award, and should not be overlooked.  It’s a lovely book, transforming the famous ballad into an absorbing  tale.   Magic, music, great prose, great characters, romance — what’s not to love?

You’ve heard me enthuse about Ellen Kushner before (lots), and Thomas the Rhymer is a good place to start reading her; it’s where I started, having read it well before I read Swordspoint.  And it’s currently out in mass-market paperback.  Perfect size for a stocking-stuffer.

(Oh, and did you know about Sound and Spirit, the radio show Ellen wrote and hosted on public radio?  It’s over now, but thanks to our pal the Internet, there are lots of episodes available to  hear for free.  At this very moment, I’m revisiting the episode on bells. I thought it might feel Christmassy, and I was right.)

Ellen Kushner’s books on Amazon

Ellen’s own website

And here’s an episode of the Diana Rehm Show, where Ellen, Maria Tatar and Marina Warner discuss the history and modern relevance of fairy tales.

The Sound and Spirit archive


2 Responses to “Next: you knew I was going to mention Ellen Kushner, right?”

  • David Tate Says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I’ve always felt that Kushner’s _Thomas the Rhymer_ is the best of the novelized fairy tales. It’s been years since I read it, but I remember it as conveying both the wonder and the terror of Elfland pretty well.

  • Linkmeister Says:

    Don’t forget her Klezmer Nutcracker called The Golden Dreydl. That’s the recorded version, which I think is better than the book, because she does all the voices so beautifully.