cover image Witchlight


Marion Zimmer Bradley. Tor Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86104-9

Fans of Bradley's popular Darkover series and The Mists of Avalon will recognize familiar plot elements in this contemporary fantasy quest, a successor to Ghostlight (1995). Heroine Winter Musgrave, 36, awakens terrified one morning in a mysterious old rural New York farmhouse, unable to recall more than flashes of her former life as a Manhattan stockbroker. Seeking relief from malevolent paranormal phenomena that she seems to be causing, Winter approaches Truth Jourdemayne, a psychic researcher who appeared in Ghostlight, for help. With Truth's guidance, Winter gradually regains her memory and faces horrors within and without as she crisscrosses the country to track down the members of her college amateur magical circle. By reforging the group's spiritual bonds, Winter hopes to exorcise her demons and to save her lover. Bradley poses insights into modern deviltry--the psychological consequences of abortion, child and spouse abuse; dysfunctional families; stress-filled urban life--by implicitly contrasting them with the traditional, spirituality balanced Celtic Otherworld, said to coexist with concrete reality. Lacking the absorbing history and environment of Arthurian legend or of the alien planet Darkover, however, Winter's struggle to come of age as a psychic woman warrior lacks vigor, though Bradley still can spin a wicked web of tangled relationships and motivations. (Sept.)