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The Sea Thy Mistress (The Edda of Burdens) Hardcover – February 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: The Edda of Burdens (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318848
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,623,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo winner Bear pairs an insubstantial plot with broken, guilt-ridden characters in this quiet sequel to 2008's All the Windwracked Stars. When the angel Muire sacrificed herself to become the new Bearer of Burdens, she renewed the entire world. But some of those Muire left behind saw her ascension as less joyful: the newly immortal Cathoair, who mourned her; their son, Cathmar, who would never know her; and the goddess Heythe, who had intended the world's demise. Even as Heythe orchestrates a self-destructive spiral for the self-pitying Cathoair, Cathmar begins a convincing transformation from precocious teen to self-sufficient adult. The stakes could be much higher and the villainess more menacing, but Bear's willingness to let her characters bleed gives this post-post-apocalyptic tale its melodramatic edge. This installment will best suit devoted fans who value tormented characters and graceful prose over complex plotting. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

The third novel in Bear�s Edda of Burdens series starts about 50 years after the end of All the Windwracked Stars (2008), when Muire, the last Valkyrie, went into the sea and became the new Bearer of Burdens. Now her lover, Cathoair, must raise their son, cast up on the shore as an infant. But their ancient enemy, the goddess Heythe, is determined to destroy all that Muire and Cathoair fought for. She will start by tormenting Cathoair and his son, Cathmar, to force Muire to break her vows and bring about the final devastation. Bear�s variation on this classic theme is skillfully written, and the characters stand out, especially the wolf Mingan. Enough background is provided so that having read the first two isn�t necessary to follow this one. The pacing is a bit slow, however. The Sea Thy Mistress is satisfying but not great fantasy adventure. --Frieda Murray

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Barenblat on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This third book in the Edda of Burdens trilogy is excellent. This book features the blend of postapocalyptic fantasy and Norse mythology, and the complex interrelationships, which I've come to expect from this series. "The Sea Thy Mistress" complicates the two previous books in the trilogy, and it also completes them, beautifully. There's no shortage of suffering in this one -- Bear doesn't pull punches! -- but there's just enough redemption to make the angst worthwhile, and the ending felt exactly right to me. Deeply satisfying. If you enjoy complicated relationships, revisited mythologies, and excellent storytelling, don't miss this one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To save the world, Muire the Angel gave herself up by diving into the sea to become the Bearer of Burdens (see All the Windwracked Stars). However, not everyone she left behind rejoice with her ascension sacrifice. In Eiledon Cathoair the immortal warrior angel mourns his loss, which he sees everyday in their offspring Cathmar, who he raises as a single dad knowing the lad will never meet his mother.

Even more raging is Heythe the Goddess, who had set in motion the end of the world before Muire interceded, but riding into the future she is shocked to find a renewed world rather than a dead orb. Knowing what Muire sacrifice has cost her, Heythe takes out her anger and frustration on tormented Cathoair who wallows in pity. She encourages the relatively new immortal to walk a personal path of destruction to force Muire to break her Bearer of Burdens oath and cause the final demise of Valdyrgard. On the other hand her other toy is the son but he displays maturity as he becomes an adult. Meanwhile Mingan the wolf observes the return of the evil enemy and plans to prevent Heythe's second chance at ending the world.

This fantasy is fascinatingly more a character study as readers see deep into the souls of father and son and to a lesser degree other cast members. Elizabeth Bear enables her fans to feel Cathoair's torment; yet there is plenty of action as Heythe tries to force Muire to return to save her beloved mate and their son. Although Heythe is not quite as powerfully wicked as she was in All the Windwracked Stars, The Sea Thy Mistress is a super thriller as the audience wonders how the heroine of the first thriller will react to the latest threat.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Sea Thy Mistress is the third book of the The Edda of Burdens, which I believe, is a trilogy. It picks up after the ending of the first book, All the Windwracked Stars. (The events in book 2, By the Mountain Bound, are the actual beginning of the story.)

Fifty years after Muire has ascended to become the Bearer of Burdens -- a goddess that is one with the Wyrm that dwells in the ocean -- she gives birth to a son. The infant is found on the beach by the cyborg Aethelred, a priest of Muire who was once a bartender. At the time the child's father, Cahey -- Muire's former lover turned Einherjar -- is off wandering the previously apocalyptic world, performing his task of protecting and helping the new human settlements. So are the moreau, human-animal hybrids, which were released from bondage by Muire. Meanwhile, the only remaining original Einherjar, Mingan and the two-headed war-steed named Kasimir, prepare for the return of their ancient enemy, who has come back across the rainbow bridge. Heythe's plans to end the world were halted in All the Windwracked Stars, so she's come back to finish what she started. The child is her key to defeating Muire and the, now, too few Einherjar.

Ms. Bear's style, at least in this series, verges on the melodramatic. I'd go so far as to say it pushes the boundary between epic and romantic fantasy. There are a lot of broken hearts and a lot of pining over lost loves, which is something I'd usually steer well clear of. In fact, if someone had mentioned these elements to me, I'd never have picked up The Edda of Burdens. Am I ever glad no one did, because this is a very beautifully written book. Elizabeth Bear's prose and language almost begs to be read aloud. It reads so effortlessly that it's almost poetic.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By April on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This third book in a trilogy is actually the sequel to the first book, _All the Windwracked Stars_, whereas the second book was a prequel. All have a different mood, but are tied together by characters and themes and by their strange chronology. The two first books should definitely be read in some order before this one to get the full story and understand who the characters are and what they have been through. This conclusion is slower and simpler than the first two books, but that's a fine change of pace after jumping back and forth through centuries or even millennia and experiencing apocalyptic end to worlds and rebirths and metamorphosis.

Cathoair was once a leader of immortal guardians of Valdyrgard, but it was destroyed ages ago and he was reborn without memory of it, as a human man. But the world is remade again when his love, Muir, gives up her humanity to become the Bearer of Burdens. Cathoair became immortal again, and dedicates himself to aiding the people of the Rekindled land, but his heart is not in it. He's trapped by the loss of Muir and his own past, not knowing how to go on in the new world. Then, he is told he has had a son by Muir and he goes to help raise him. In the meantime, the goddess Heythe, responsible for the destruction of Valdyrgard and the world after Valdyrgard, returns, fully expecting to glory in the ruins. She finds a new world instead and is determined to make three times the charm.

What happens after an apocalypse? The second book explored a world that spun out of control. Here, there is another chance. Can the few remaining guardians guide the world and protect it from Heythe? She sees Cathoair and his son as the weak links, and so they are... the father without his love and the son without his mother.
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