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Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon

Review by Lyssa

Elizabeth Haydon's Rhapsody is the story of three altogether different characters from the doomed isle of Serendair: the Brother is a pock-marked assassin with an almost psychic ability to feel his fellow Dhracians, who is bound to a demon(?) by his name which the demon stole from him. He is sent out by the demon to unleash a dragon, which is bound to destroy the Earth at the demon's command. The Brother befriends a monstrous Firbolg sergeant named Grunthor and together they escape the demon's clutches.

Along the way, they inadvertently rescue Rhapsody, a Singer half-descended from the elvish Lirin folk, Namer and former runaway and prostitute who thinks she's tough but has a major breakdown now and again along the way. In the course of their first meeting, she reNames the Brother "Achmed". The two men have no other choice: they must take Rhapsody with them on their flight--a flight which leads them into the bowels of the Earth, along the Enchanted Root at the center, and far beyond history, saving them from Serendair's destruction and setting them up as minor masters of the new world. Together with their new people they are are force to be reckoned with in the future. At the head of all this is a long prologue setting up some sort of history involving Gwydion, a Lirin from the world Rhapsody, Achmed, and Grunthor have migrated to, and his one-night-come-long-time-love Emily: a tantalizing tie-in that had me floored upon making the connection between the two.

A bit slow in parts though it is, Rhapsody is an intricate tapestry of history, legend, music, and magic with a decided Celtic/Norse flavor and intimately drawn characters. Rhapsody is one of the best first novels I have read in a long time, and her tantalizing inclusion of Meridion and his Time Editor, and the introduction of a mysterious character, Ashe, in the last quarter of the novel promises only grander things for Rhapsody's two sequels.

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