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Encyclopedia > The Castle of Iron
The Castle of Iron by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp, Gnome Press, 1950

The Castle of Iron is a fantasy novel written by science fiction and fantasy authors L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, the second volume in their Harold Shea series. It was first published as a 35,000 word novella in the fantasy magazine Unknown for April, 1941. Revised and expanded, it was first published in book form in hardcover by Gnome Press in 1950, and in paperback by Pyramid Books in 1962. It has been reprinted by a number of other publishers since its first appearance, and has more recently been combined with later books in the series in the omnibus editions The Compleat Enchanter (1975) and The Complete Compleat Enchanter (1989). It has also been translated into Italian. Image File history File linksMetadata The_Castle_of_Iron. ... Murray Fletcher Pratt (1897–1956) was a science fiction and fantasy writer; he was also well-known as a writer on naval history and on the American Civil War. ... L. Sprague de Camp from the cover of Time and Chance: an Autobiography, Donald M. Grant, 1996 Lyon Sprague de Camp, (November 27, 1907, New York City – November 6, 2000, Plano, Texas) was an American science fiction and fantasy author. ... Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... L. Sprague de Camp from the cover of Time and Chance: an Autobiography, Donald M. Grant, 1996 Lyon Sprague de Camp, (November 27, 1907, New York City – November 6, 2000, Plano, Texas) was an American science fiction and fantasy author. ... Murray Fletcher Pratt (1897–1956) was a science fiction and fantasy writer; he was also well-known as a writer on naval history and on the American Civil War. ... The Roaring Trumpet in Unknown, May 1940 Harold Shea was a name given to a series of fantasy stories by the collaborative team of L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, which was later continued by de Camp alone, Christopher Stasheff, Holly Lisle, John Maddox Roberts, Roland J. Green, Frieda... Sinister Barrier by Eric Frank Russell Unknown (also known as Unknown Worlds) was a pulp fantasy magazine, edited by John W. Campbell, that was published from 1939 to 1943. ... Gnome Press was a US small-press publishing company primarily known for being the first to publish Isaac Asimovs Foundation Trilogy, and for bringing Robert E. Howards Conan the Barbarian stories back from pulp obscurity. ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Pyramid Books was a paperback publishing company, founded in 1949 by Alfred R. Plaine and Matthew Huttner. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... The Compleat Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, Nelson Doubleday, 1975 The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea is an omnibus collection of three classic fantasy stories by science fiction and fantasy authors L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, gathering material previously published in... The Complete Compleat Enchanter by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, Baen Books, 1989 The Complete Compleat Enchanter is an omnibus collection of five classic fantasy stories by science fiction and fantasy authors L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, gathering material previously published in three volumes as The...


The Harold Shea stories are parallel world tales in which universes where magic works coexist with our own, and in which those based on the mythologies, legends, and literary fantasies of our world and can be reached by aligning one's mind to them by a system of symbolic logic. In The Castle of Iron, the authors' protagonist Harold Shea visits two such worlds, first (briefly) that of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan and second that of Ludovico Ariosto's epic, the Orlando Furioso. Parallel universe, alternate reality, etc. ... Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, 1795 Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772 – July 25, 1834) (pronounced ) was an English poet, critic, and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. ... Kubla Khan, whose complete title is Kubla Khan, or a Vision in a Dream. ... Ludovico Ariosto (September 8, 1474 – July 6, 1533) was an Italian poet, author of the epic poem Orlando furioso (1516), Orlando Enraged. He was born at Reggio, in Emilia. ... Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. ...


Plot

In the wake of the events of "The Mathematics of Magic", Harold Shea and his lady love Belphebe of Faerie have married and settled happily into a mundane earthly existence. But after Belphebe disappears at a picnic, Shea is questioned by the police on suspicion of foul play. The authorities also question his work colleagues at the Garaden Institute, Walter Bayard and Vaclav Polacek, and then decide to take in the three of them for further interrogation. At that point the whole group, including police officer Pete Brodsky, are spirited away to another world, that of the Xanadu which is the subject of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan. After they have all languished there for a time, Shea and Polacek are pulled away from this world as well and into that represented by Ludovico Ariosto's epic, the Orlando Furioso. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, 1795 Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772 – July 25, 1834) (pronounced ) was an English poet, critic, and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. ... Kubla Khan, whose complete title is Kubla Khan, or a Vision in a Dream. ... Ludovico Ariosto (September 8, 1474 – July 6, 1533) was an Italian poet, author of the epic poem Orlando furioso (1516), Orlando Enraged. He was born at Reggio, in Emilia. ... Ruggiero Rescuing Angelica by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. ...


The person responsible for their plight turns out to be Reed Chalmers, aspiring magician and former head of the Garaden Institute, who had accompanied Shea to Faerie in his previous adventure. He had been attempting to retrieve Shea alone, but had erroneously pulled in Belphebe first, and then misplaced his three colleagues and the police officer before at last getting things (nearly) right. Aside, that is, from getting Polacek too and leaving Bayard and Brodsky stranded in Xanadu. Moreover, as Ariosto's epic was a source text for Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen, Belphebe's mind has become confused, reverting in accord with the setting to that of her Furioso prototype, Belphagor. As a result, she now believes herself a native of the world into which they have been plunged, no longer recognizing Shea as her husband! Edmund Spenser Edmund Spenser (c. ... Una and the Lion by Briton Rivière The Faerie Queene is a poem by Edmund Spenser, first published in 1590 (the first half) with the more or less complete version being published in 1596. ...


Chalmer's goal was to seek Shea's assistance in transforming his own love, the lady Florimel, a human simulacrum magically made of snow, into a real person. It was also to that end that he himself had come to this world, where he is now the guest of the wizard Atlantès de Carena in the latter's marvelous iron castle in northern Spain. The world of the Furioso is based on Carolingian legendry, and the Moorish Spain in which the extradimensional travelers find themselves is in the midst of a conflict with the Frankish empire of Charlemagne and his paladins. Somehow they must manage to negotiate their way through the delicate international politics, tiptoe around the treacherous Atlantès, achieve Chalmers' ambitions for Florimel, restore Belphebe's sanity — and survive! Beyond that there are still Bayard and Brodsky to rescue, though those are tasks for later tales... Also see: France in the Middle Ages. ... A portrait of Charlemagne by Albrecht Dürer that was painted several centuries after Charlemagnes death. ...

Preceded by
The Incomplete Enchanter
Harold Shea Series
The Castle of Iron
Succeeded by
Wall of Serpents

  Results from FactBites:
 
Montana DEQ Castle Mountains Mining District (4020 words)
The Castle Mountains, named for the striking reddish rock formations near the town of Castle, are "a domal uplift formed by the intrusion of the Castle granite and Robinson diorite into folded Proterozoic (Belt), Paleozoic, [and] Mesozoic strata" (Sahinen 1935).
One was manganese iron ore that was used as a flux, while the other contained gold with assay values ranging widely from $6 to $2000 a ton.
Following the closure of most mines in the Castle Mountain district in 1893, the Great Eastern was back in operation in 1897, employing 25 miners and 9 topmen; ore was sent to the smelter in East Helena.
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