cover image The Elvenbane

The Elvenbane

Andre Norton. Tor Books, $19.95 (390pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85106-4

SF master Norton ( The Crystal Gryphon and the Witch World series) and her new collaborator Lackey ( Arrows of the Queen and subsequent volumes of the Valdemar series) have produced a fine coming-of-age adventure in which a decadent elven society maintains a cruel, avaricious control over the shattered remnants of humanity while shape-changing dragons covertly observe. Pregnant with a half-breed child, a human concubine of the almost immortal elven Lord Dyran flees into the desert to avoid death. She is found by the dragon Alara, a shaman herself heavy with egg. Although the concubine dies, Alara saves the child Shana and brings her home to foster with her own son Keman. When Shana reaches adulthood and is cast out by conservative dragons, she learns the extent of her magical abilities. Aided by Keman and her full-elven half-brother, Dyran's heir, she leads a revolt by the other hidden half-breeds against the tyranny of the elves. With excellent evocations of dragon lore and society, this tale will rank as one of the season's liveliest and most appealing fantasy epics. (Nov.)