Plot Summary Edit
Twenty years have passed since the Icemark last defended itself from invasion. Now the imperial invader Scipio Bellorum is back - joined by his brutal twin sons. The Icemark's fate rests with Queen Thirrin, Oskan Witchfather - and their five strong-willed children. But are the royal siblings ready for the task?
The story commences 20 years after the previous book, "The Cry of the Icemark," with Thirrin observing as a royal feast is set up in the Leopard Holds to celebrate their most recent victory against the ice trolls. After sharing her desire to be warm with Oskan Witchfather, Tharaman-Thar, his mate, Krisafitsa-Tharina, his eldest child, Talaman, his daughter, Kirimin, and his three other cubs named Tadadan, Krisilisa, and Thuraman approaches them.
When they had finished formally greeting each other, Tharaman begins to laugh, declaring the feast in progress. After seating his mate down by Thirrin and Oskan and giving his cubs to their nurse, Tharaman instantly challenges Olememnon to a drinking competition. Before he could proceed too much further, Thirrin stops him, demanding that they must discuss the Ice Trolls first. Tharaman complies, noting how the chamberlain, Ethelbold, had not yet brought him his drink he had ordered.
Satisfied, Thirrin starts off the meeting by pointing out that the ice trolls were carrying metal war hammers instead of their usual antler spears and stone clubs. She then adds that the Polypontian Empire was most likely aiding them in battle. Still, she questions why they do not attack them in summer while everything would be easier for the Ice Trolls. Tharina then replies in a sing-song voice that they hibernate in the summer and that the sun burns them and gives them blisters.
Tharaman starts to mock Scipio, thinking that the general had not thought humans would come to their aid because they were just oversized pets. Krisafitsa just replies that he is an over-sized pet. Instead of taking offense, he adds that he also loved beer.
After licking off the stray droplets of wine from his whiskers, Tharaman declares he had finished a bowl and asks Olenemnin how many he had finished. Olenemnin replies three and Tharaman whines that he only got one because he was discussing important matters. For the rest of the night, everyone ate and drank. Eventually, large groups of men started to sing offensive songs, lead by Tharaman and Olenenin.
Just before this time, the Polypontian Empire was severely struggling with revolts. Because a small country like The Icemark had defeated them, everyone felt they could as well. Despite this, after 15 years, the Polypontian Empire had stopped all of the revolts and had also taken over two new territories. In time, some werewolf spies picked up that the Polypontian Army was getting ready for an attack of revenge towards the Icemark.
As Thirrin worries about this, Oskan notes that they would have to wait until everything had thawed to even make it to the Icemark. Upset, Thirrin snaps at him that she was able to win and lead a war in the cold. Oskan simply reminds her that her men were used to the cold and that they were allied up with Snow Leopards.
Despite this, Thirrin feels uneasy, knowing that Scipio was unpredictable. Thus, she comes to the personal conclusion that she could only be happy when she was back in the Icemark, supervising the area in preparation against Scipio. Suddenly, she calls out to the Basilea and asks when her soldiers would be ready to march. After replying three days, Thirrin demands that she shortens it down to two.
Basilea lists off all of the things that her army must do and Thirrin gives her two and a half days instead. Next, Thirrin asked the werewolves when their army could march out. Upik replies that they were all ready to march and that the wounded would have to manage,
Tharaman-Thar quickly declares that they should continue with their feast. Almost instantly, Olememnon announces he is on his tenth bottle. Krisafitsa just giggles at Tharaman-Thar's look of war in his eyes as he continued his drinking contest with Olememnon.
Meanwhile, while sitting in Maggiore Totus' room, Charlemagne thinks over how much his name had annoyed him. Silently, he calls his name stupid and horrid in hopes of not waking up Maggie, who had grown into a habit of always falling asleep. Charlemagne then thinks about a lesson he had learned from Maggie: Charlemagne was the name of a great warrior who defended the Dessert People in their time of need.
While he thinks, he notices the sun that was about to wake Maggie up. Hastily, he closes the shades and walks back to his seat. However, before he could sit down, he tripped and fell, almost waking up Maggiore. Sharley's mind then drifted off to the fact he had once had polio during the time when Icemark was invaded with the disease. The only reason he had not died like the many other people was because of his father, Oskan, who breathed into him until he was better. After that, Oskan and the other witches had developed a breathing device that saved many of the citizen's lives.
Getting back into his chair, Sharley whispers some of the mean names others had called him because of his polio. Sharley thinks more about his polio and how he was one of the only royal children ever who could not be trained with a sword or an ax. Despite being their most useless child, Charlemagne was his parent's favorite. Even all of his siblings, except for Medea, cared for and protected him.
Suddenly, Maggie wakes up, asking where they were. Charlemagne replies that he was taking notes. Maggie pretends that he was aware of that. While Sharley keeps up his innocent act, Maggie notes that the sand in his hour glass was all gone and that Sharley had let him sleep through the whole lesson. Maggie compares Sharley to Thirrin, but notes how Thirrin would have snuck out of the room. Sharley quickly reminds Maggiore that he was physically incapable of doing anything more fun than sitting in that room and watch him sleep.
Maggie tries to make Sharley feel better about his past case of Polio by referring to his crippled leg as a test. If he passed, he would become a greater warrior than anyone. Charlemagne quickly catches on to what Maggie was trying to do and falls back down into depression. Maggie tries making him feel better again by telling Sharley to at least not let his attitude become equally as bad, or people would keep calling him mean names such as “Prince Sour Face” or “Prince Misery.”.
Blinking away tears, Sharley asks if people really called him that. Maggie adds that they do not call him that and that most people still remember him from when he was young and followed his older siblings around hopefully and smiling. After realized he was being a bit unfair, Maggie dismissed all of Charlemagne's problems as a side effect of adolescence. Angrily, Sharley bowed low to Maggiore and stormed out of the room and corridors before anyone could ask him if he was alright or if he needed help.
Eventually, he made it to the garden, where he fell because of his crippled leg. Frustrated, he started to break down into sobs. Determined to at least hold his pride, he used the nearby fountain to pull himself up. From the classroom window, Maggie watches this. Getting up from his seat, he tells two soldiers to watch over Sharley because he had just been brutally honest with him and he may need some friendly support.
After a bit, Maggiore heard news that the army was coming back from the Ice Troll war. After giving up to try and tell Sharley, Charlemagne eventually finds out himself and becomes excited. Charlemagne quickly starts to speak in the wolf tongue rapidly, translating the conversation for Maggiore. Maggie becomes pleased that Sharley's attitude had seemed to change, seeing how excited he was to see his parents again.
For a long while, Charlemagne waited outside for his parents, listening to the wolf messages for any news. Eventually, he calculates that the army would be there in less than an hour and asks some guards to tell the cooks, then Maggiore. In just a matter of moments, Cressida, Eodred, and Cerdic approached Sharley, asking his for the details. The twins, however, keep messing around, forcing Cressida to demand their silence. After getting in an argument about whether their parents should bring them home gifts with Cerdic, Cressida tells Sharley that he could come out of the cold and just be told when their parents had arrived.
After snapping that Cressida would most likely be cold because of the amour she was wearing from training, she wraps her arm around him, understanding that he was upset. After trying to encourage him, Sharley just compares her to Maggiore. Once Cressida starts to mention he did not need a sword to be a warrior, Charlemagne hears a werewolf call and notices his parents. Eager to meet their parents, the four royal children race down to them.
Up in her tower, Medea also watches as her parents come home. Despite being happy they had come home safely, she knew that they would probably greet her last. Medea quickly becomes jealous over her siblings, Charlemagne in particular. Medea happily remembers a time after Charlemagne’s polio had passed when she had fixed and destroyed one of his toys in front of him, just to make him upset.
Still, Medea knew she had one thing he siblings did not: her father’s powers. Because of that, Oskan seemed to spend much more time with her. She knew that after all of the greetings were over with, at least her father would be looking for her.
After Oskan made it home, he sat by a fire with Primplepuss, grateful for the long desired warmth. As the servants get supper prepared, some of them notify Oskan on the foods progress. As the servants made themselves busy, Oskan thinks of how they usually have family dinners, Maggiore included, in private apartments. However, since they had just won the Ice Troll war, they had decided they would eat at a public feast so they could show themselves to the household.
Oskan continued to pet Primplepuss as he thought of his children. Medea, he knew, would appear in about an hour after her siblings greeted them. He also knew that Cerdic, Eodred, and Cressida were forcing their mother to watch and listen to their most recent accomplishments. Oskan then becomes saddened when he thought of how eager Sharley was to join them, knowing that he was not even allowed to train himself. Oskan knew, however, that before Sharley gave up on becoming a warrior, he would be old and grey.
Suddenly, Oskan jolts up and feels the Gift overcome him and realizes it is trying to tell him something about Charlemagne. After the Gift finished trying to give him a message, it leaves Oskan tired and even more ignorant than before. Oskan thinks over this and wonders of Charlemagne's true importance. Hi thoughts, however, are cut short when he hears the twins and happily compares them to Thirrin's side of the family. After Cressida scolds them, he compares her to Thirrin herself.
Disrupting the previous silence, the twins burst into the room Oskan is relaxing in, noting how quiet it was. Thirrin follows in behind them, teasing Oskan by asking him if they were disturbing him. Oskan simply replies he was spending his time in a warrior's silence, to which a twin replies that Sharley in no warrior. The twin quickly realizes his mistake when Cressida hits him for the comment.
Mentally agreeing that the twins would never have diplomacy, he urges his children to sit down and talk to him while they wait for their supper. Much to his surprise, right after, Medea slips into the romm unobtrusively. During this time, Eodred starts to boast to Oskan how skilled he was now. After listening to them, Oskan asks Sharley what he had done while they were gone. Shrugging, he replies nothing much, to which his family and Medea all stop and watch him. Turning red, Sharley desperately tried to think of something interesting he had done in their absence.
Before he could really think of anything, Oskan slumped forward from his chair, to which Thirrin silenced all of her children. Because this happened so often, his family were not afraid and Medea even found herself fascinated. After falling completely into his trance, Oskan speaks a prophecy of Sharley returning to save Icemark with a blade of fire. After slumping forward, Thirrin hurriedly demands her children to fetch Oskan some wine and that the guard must be removed so rumors did not spread. Exhausted, Oskan quickly drunk two whole beakers of wine.
After he succeeded in relaxing, he openly wished he could receive more of a warning next time then asks his family what he had said. Instead of replying, Charelmagne becomes overwhelmed and crashes to the floor after his leg gives out. Medea watches, enraged that her father's prophecy had nothing to do with her and leaves.
Latter that night, everyone eats dinner in the great hall with a large crowd of friendly company.
- This is the second book published book in the Icemark series.
- This is the third book in the Icemark Series in chronological order.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Hill, Stuart (2007). Blade of Fire. United Kingdom, 2 Palmer Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1DS: Chicken House, Scholastic. Chapter 1; pages 1–8. ISBN 0-439-84122-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Hill, Stuart (2007). Blade of Fire. United Kingdom, 2 Palmer Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1DS: Chicken House, Scholastic. Chapter 2; pages 9-24. ISBN 0-439-84122-4.
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_of_Fire