By Yves Meynard
“A different sort of politics emerges in Yves Meynard’s Chrysanthe, a sublime mix of fairy tale, political thriller, and military fantasy…The talented French Canadian author of The Book of Knights, which raised medieval fantasy to a higher level, now takes on the saga form with this luminous tale of multiple realities and the triumph of love over evil. His transformative storytelling should appeal to a mainstream fiction audience as well as to most fans of richly detailed epic fantasy.”
Christine, the princess and heir to the real world of Chrysanthe, is kidnapped as a small child by a powerful magician and exiled in a Made World that is a version of our present reality. In exile, supervised by her strict “uncle”(actually a wizard in disguise), she undergoes bogus memory recovery therapy, through which she is forced to remember childhood rape and abuse by her parents and others. She is terribly stunted emotionally by this terrifying plot, but at seventeen discovers it is all a lie. Christine escapes with a rescuer, Sir Quentin, a knight from Chrysanthe, in a thrilling chase across realities.
Once home, the magical standoff caused by her exile is broken, and a war begins, in spite of the best efforts of her father, the king, and his wizard, Melogian. And that war, which takes up nearly the last third of the work, is a marvel of magical invention and terror, a battle between good and evil forces that resounds with echoes of the great battles of fantasy literature.
“In terms of both mature craft and originality of imagination, Hartwell’s major discovery this year has got to be the French Canadian writer Yves Meynard.”
“Fantasy has family trees and most books show their pedigrees visibly, but it’s hard to say where Yves Meynard’s wonderfully original new novel Chrysanthe belongs. It’s a little like Zelazny’s Amber books, with characters moving through ever-shifting realities towards and away from the one real world. There’s some Dunsany and some Gene Wolfe in its pedigree. I suspect it owes something to E.R. Eddison. But it’s not a lot like fantasy as we normally come across it, and it’s clearly coming out of very different traditions. Fantasy as a genre has a narrow center and lots of room at the edges for people doing things that are different. This is definitely different.”
-Jo Walton, award-winning fantasy and science fiction writer
“…mind-bendingly creative in terms of both world and spectacular set pieces. The ‘made worlds’ mentioned above are a good example, more twisted physics through experiment than fantasy trope, and Meynard has a talent for scenes that stick in the mind. One particularly good one involves a fight between a knight and a shape-shifting car, but plenty of other details — the towering mirrors that light Christine’s fairytale castle or, in a much darker vein, the power-hungry wizard who devours rivals to gain their power — linger through both creative faculty and vivid description.”
Tor Books, March 2012