Spirits of Cavern and Hearth

M. Coleman Easton, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (294p) ISBN 978-0-312-02287-7
The ancient conflict between wandering and settled peoples forms the backdrop of this well-written fantasy. The people of Worldmount are hemmed in by mountain ranges and a volcanic wasteland, the Throat of Sorrow. The Hakkan have been building a Path across the Throat to take them to the plentiful and fertile lands to the east. Yarkol Dolmi, a physician of the clan, contracts a disease that gives him the appearance of youth. To the Hakhan priests, the disease is a sin; banishment is the penalty. Yarkol, who dreams of the north and its nomadic Chirudak tribes during his illness, finds himself constrained to go there. He is joined in his travels by two nomads, a woman and a shaman, both more than they seem. Yarkol finds he has new powers: he can see and talk with koboldsimps and spirits of legend to his own people, but still worshipped by the Chirudaks. Among the nomads, Yarkol's condition is venerated and he is called ulaansh or Reborn. Conflict develops between him and the Kag, the leader who has united the Chirudak tribes, also an ulaansh. How Yarkol is able to save all three peoples makes a satisfactory conclusion. Easton ( Swimmers Beneath the Bright ) has written a low-key, charming tale. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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