Thursday, February 15, 2018

"The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth" by Lord Dunsany (a short story)

“The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth”
by Edward, Lord Dunsany

A family member who has read the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft told me that Lovecraft was inspired by Lord Dunsany and they wanted to read some of his work. I found this in the library’s collection for them and after reading they thought I’d like it, so I gave it a try. It’s less than 20 pages long, so it is not a huge commitment. I thought it was pretty good and was reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien’s short stories such as “Farmer Giles of Ham” and “Leaf by Niggle”. Old, mystic and dreamy I think would best describe it. The story is about a village (Allanthurion) whose residents suddenly begin having nightmares from Hell and are afraid to sleep. The magician of the village determines the dreams are from Gaznak, the greatest magician, rider of a comet who visits Earth every few hundred years and feeds on the minds of men. The terrible dreams can only be stopped by defeating Gaznak and the only way to vanquish him is with a sword called Sacnoth. The sword is part of a dragon-crocodile named Tharagavverug, which can’t be slain because it’s made of metal and nothing can fell it save for hunger. So our brave village hero Leothric, starves the dragon, which takes a few days, gains the sword and sets off to destroy the wizard Gaznak. That’s sort of all there is to it, as it’s quite short, but I liked it more for how the story was told than some sort of complicated plot or character development. It’s a nice little story deserving of a read, even if you are not into Lovecraft and or Tolkien. Readers of fairy tales, fantasy, or fables will enjoy.

This is a short story available in several books the library owns including: The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales, Edited by Mike Ashley, 398.2 ASH; The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories, by Oxford University Press, 813.08 OXF; and The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save for Sacnoth, by Lord Dunsany, on Hoopla.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Call of Cthulu, by H.P. Lovecraft, Farmer Giles of Ham, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Leaf by Niggle, by J.R.R. Tolkien, or Smith of Wooten Major, by J.R.R. Tolkien, all of which are short stories.] [ Article about Lord Dunsany and “The Fortress Unvanquishable” at ] | [ Wikipedia entry on Edward, Lord Dunsany ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

No comments: