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Review: 'By Sword and Star', by Renee Carter Hall

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By Sword and StarHere is a “fairy tale” fantasy novel with a young anthropomorphic unicorn prince who must fight to regain his kingdom from the evil elk lord who has usurped the throne. Old-fashioned? Yes, but “once upon a time” never goes out of style.

Prince Tiran of Silverglen may be heir to the throne of all Asteria, but he's always felt more at home among the villagers, no matter how many lectures he gets from his father. But when the elk-lord Roden slaughters the royal family and claims the throne for himself, only Tiran is left to avenge their deaths and take his place as the rightful king. (publisher’s blurb)

Hamlet, anyone? Prince Tiran has always preferred to rub shoulders with the peasants and commoners of his kingdom than to take an interest in the affairs of state, as King Sevrin, his father, wishes. That is why Tiran is in a tavern, playing dice, when Duke Roden, a visiting elk-lord with his retinue, kills the king and the rest of his family at the castle banquet and takes over the kingdom.

Anthropomorphic Dreams Publishing, February 2012, trade paperback $13.95 (207 [+ 3] pages), Kindle $5.95. Cover by Sara "Caribou" Miles, photography by Jeff Hall.

Elk rescued from tree

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Yes, you read that right. An intoxicated elk found himself up a tree with no way down... a situation only cats are supposed to find themselves in. []

According to Sweden's edition of The Local, the elk was grazing on fermenting apples that had fallen off the tree, and became a bit drunk; a common phenomenon. What happened next is anything but: the elk decided to eat the apples located higher up in the tree, and began to climb it. The majestic, antlered creature became entangled within the tree's limbs, and required assistance from rescuers to get back onto terra firma.

Elk rescues drowning marmot

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PocatelloZooElkRescuesMarmot.jpgAt Pocatello Zoo in Idaho, USA, a young wild marmot became trapped in a water tank, and drew the attention of Shooter, a four-year-old elk who is an exhibit at the zoo.

After sniffing at and circling the tank for fifteen minutes, Shooter leaned into the tank, picked up the marmot in his mouth, and set it on the ground, before nudging it with his hoof. After catching its breath, the the rescued marmot scampered away.

Shooter's actions were observed by surprised zoo staff. Whilst not sure if Shooter sensed the marmot was in distress - or just didn't like it in his tank - the staff speculate that, with the elk's basic needs being met, he was at leisure to exercise thought processes more complex than those needed for just basic survival.