cover image Ghostlight


Marion Zimmer Bradley. Tor Books, $22.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85881-0

Adept at both SF (the Darkover series) and fantasy (The Mists of Avalon), Bradley broadens her range with an entertaining tale of contemporary ``magick'' and self-discovery that combines gothic romance, urban fantasy and horror. Truth Jourdemayne, parapsychologist and illegitimate child of celebrated vanished occultist Thorne Blackburn, decides to write a book about her much-hated father; to begin her research, she visits his estate, Shadow's Gate, nestled in the Hudson River valley. There Truth meets a group continuing Blackburn's occult ``Work,'' led by the exciting and mysterious Julian Pilgrim. The narrative employs gothic props such as hidden parentage, a secret book, underground passages and intricate alliances, and it isn't shy about flashing occult wonders either, but the emphasis is on Truth's growth toward greater understanding and wisdom. With a strong, though not feminist, heroine and a sophisticated treatment of magick, this novel overcomes myriad cliches--including the charismatic occult leader and an apparently haunted mansion--to offer intelligent, if somewhat giddy, diversion. (Sept.)