The Glass Salamander

Ann Downer, Author Atheneum Books $14.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-689-31413-1
In a serpentine tale, abrim with lore of magic and echoes of myths, Downer takes up the story of the seer Caitlin and her love, Badger, begun in Spellkey . To protect her realm of Chameol, caught in a struggle against the necromancer Myrrhlock, and hoping to destroy him, Queen Iiliana offers Caitlin a harsh choice: to remain in the mortal world, but lose both her second sight and all memory of Badger; or retain her memories and perfect her arts on Chameol, but leave Badger behind. Caitlin chooses memory and separation. On Chameol, after her son Bram (by Badger) is stolen and a changeling left in his place, she leaves Grimald (as she names the goblin child) behind to undertake a perilous quest to the Otherworld in search of Bram. In alternating scenes, Badger and his companion Elric investigate the strange behavior of the inhabitants of Oncemoon Marsh. The actions of Caitlin and Badger, in different worlds, culminate in the freeing of Drusian, former queen of Chameol, from chains of enchantment placed by Myrrhlock, and she destroys the vile enchanter. And Caitlin, Badger, Grimald and, eventually, Bram are free to live as a family. Downer neither condescends nor compromises her spare, elegant prose by spelling everything out for less mature or slower readers; while some may find it hard going, this complex fantasy merits close attention. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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