Sybertooth, 2008. Cover art by Artemisia.
"Maybe it's not entirely the fault of man or devil, what you've become. We all lost our way. I meant to kill you where you sat, but I don't find I can. It seems I haven't quite become a murderer after all."
Demon bears take human shape and devils walk in the north of a world where every hill hosts a god and every river and spring a goddess. Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather carry a lyre than a sword, is drawn into an unfinished tale by the storyteller Moth, and old lays of vengeance and betrayal wake into bloody new life around her.
A slave in Bronze-Age Korthan sees his lovers suffer and die for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods and in the midst of horror at their sin, finds his own faith shaken and takes his own first steps on the road to rebellion.
In a tale built on the familiar legends of our world, Merlin's daughter relates the story of the fall of Arthur's Britain as you have never heard it, a tale of adultery and treachery old and well-known, yet fresh and startling in Nimiane's telling.
The unnamed common men of England who faced a later generation of sea-raiders are given voice once more in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon, when English fought Vikings at the Blackwater and lost.
In all these tales, the common thread is otherness; other worlds, other times, other ways of looking at heroism and tragedy, faith and betrayal and victory. Build the fire up, shut out the dark, and let The Storyteller carry you away.
Johansen demonstrates her mastery of different styles of writing with each of these stories ... The stories drip with atmosphere and feeling. Johansen’s background in history, medieval studies, and Old English comes shining through, and she knows how to do characters ... This wonderful offering from Johansen deserves an unabashed five stars. ~ FantasyLiterature.net
"... while reading them, I felt transported. I might have been experiencing them as told by a true teller of tales, round a fire, or sitting on a hearth. In a way I suppose I was. K.V. Johansen is, most definitely, a teller of tales.... I've been a fan of her writing for younger readers. Now, I am very much looking forward to future publishing for a slightly older audience as well. Highly recommended" ~ Mad Tales (review blog)