cover image Catmagic


Whitley Strieber. Tor Books, $17.95 (441pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93112-4

Barry, a practicing witch, has collaborated with well-known SF and horror writer Strieber in this very uneven novel. In a sense the book is a spokespiece for witchcraftand is most interesting as suchnot black magic witchcraft, but the ancient wisdom of worshipping the earth and the seasons, of living with and respecting nature and the holy in people and animals. The story focuses on young Amanda Walker, who has come to rural Maywell to work with Constance Collier on her latest book. But Constance is really a witch, the spiritual leader of a large coven, and unbeknownst to Amanda she has picked the girl to be her successor. To complicate matters, Amanda's eccentric uncle George, who is involved in research in resuscitating the dead, has finally gone over the edge and is looking for a healthy young woman as his next subject. And Brother Simon Pierce, local fundamentalist preacher, himself quite mad, is determined to enforce the Biblical injunction, ""Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.'' The book is burdened with erratic pacing and frequent and jarring mood changes, but almost in spite of its clunky style, it often manages to entertain. (October 20)