book log: Andre Norton — The Gifts of Asti

Short story originally published under the “Andrew North” pseudonym, now out of copyright. Nice little short about the last priestess of a god with both genuine power and an implied policy of non-interference. As invaders take the city below, the priestess and her non-human colleague take the back door out of the mountain temple, and find themselves on a strange path to a strange place of safety.

With this being a short story, the world-building isn’t to the same depth as in one of the novels, but Norton was adept at implying things with a few words. This has a number of Norton’s favourite themes presented in miniature, and is well worth a read if you’re a fan.

The text is available from Project Gutenberg and mirrors. The Gutenberg text is also available as a public domain audiobook at the LibriVox project, in both mp3 format and Ogg Vorbis format. The audiobook is about 41 minutes long and read by Mark Nelson. (You can find both the text and the Ogg Vorbis file mirrored at Wikisource.) I listened to the first ten minutes or so, and thought that it was an enjoyable performance.

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