Holger Carlsen is an Allied covert operative in the Low Countries, fighting the Nazis in World War II. After an accident, he finds himself in a fantasy version of Europe. The West is held by Humanity, the East is held by Faerie, and the two are locked in a cold war that is looking to run hot. Not his fight, though, right? Holger needs to get home and fight the Nazis. But why did he wind up being transported to a spot where a horse suited for him, and battle armor customized to fit him just happened to be? Who is Holger Carlsen, really, and what is the meaning of his coat of arms? And can he survive in a world where a world war like the one he left may be in the wings, but with dragons and giants instead of bombers and tanks?
Three Hearts and Three Lions is one of many of the classic novels of Poul Anderson. Lighter than some of his more Scandinavian fantasy (e.g. the excellent The Broken Sword), Three Hearts and Three Lions (1961) introduced a lot of ideas into fantasy and gave them form. The division of the fantasy world into Law and Chaos. Trolls and Giants, creatures not often seen in fantasy in this point, take the stage. And Anderson’s trolls are far more indicative of what most people think of trolls than the Cockney rhyming trolls of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Oh and did I mention there is a shapeshifting druid (complete with animal companion), a magical sword of ancient power (Cortana!), and the fact that you probably could stat up Holger in this fantasy realm as a Paladin and be not far from the mark?