Patrick O'Leary, Author Tor Books $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-86402-6
A group of sailors aboard ship sits spellbound, listening to a Teller spin a remarkable tale. It involves a sorcerer who becomes the Usher of the Night after he entraps an ancient demon who looses various primarily misogynistic evils upon the land. Also figuring in the yarn are Tim (a woodcutter's son) and young King Simon, both of whom are given wondrous and troublesome Gifts after they are wronged by the Usher. The two young men must search out and nullify his evil if their world is ever to recover and prosper. They are aided in their quest by several mystical creatures who are, in the best fairy-tale tradition, not entirely what they seem. This second novel from O'Leary (whose first, Door Number Three, was named a PW Best Book of 1995) moves gracefully back and forth between its nautical frame and the adventures of its youthful protagonists. The narrative includes a startling sequence set in a technological world where reproduction is a sacred obligation and executioners are prized for their abilities. There is also more standard, if skillfully handled, fantastic fare. Though the happy ending is a bit pat, O'Leary's voice rarely wavers as he again displays his mastery of fantasy and social motifs, weaving familiar themes into a heartwarming, enchanting story. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 373 pages - 978-0-7838-0170-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-86403-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4668-4349-3
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