cover image Wind in the Stone

Wind in the Stone

Andre Norton. Eos, $23 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97602-7

A foray into the consciousness of its antihero opens this stately chronicle of evil vs. goodness from a veteran, celebrated author. Irasmus, formerly an apprentice at Valarian, the Place of Learning, has renounced his teachers and plundered their powerful cache of knowledge, with which he wishes to reawaken the Dark of Chaos, an evil kept in check for generations by the Covenant of Light. The imperfectly trained yet potent Son of Darkness begins building his empire with enslaved ""low-grade demons"" and, gradually, the people of the Valley. Among the captives, the villagers of Firthdun are unique in their adherence to the old ways; they nurture a lingering Old Blood ability to commune with the Wind, a natural force commanded by a female entity called Theeossa. Meanwhile, laboring to undo the damage unwittingly wrought, the mages of Valarian enlist the aid of Theeossa and the children of her Forest. To combat Irasmus, Forest and Valley inhabitants alike must place their faith and future in three youths of the Old Blood: a girl named Cerlyn, and a pair of twins born of a terrible rape. While skillfully conceived and deftly written, this novel moves slowly, for each advance is related from a variety of sketchy viewpoints. The inevitable showdown between the forces of dark and light thus arrives as more of a relief than as the thundering climax Norton (Scent of Magic) clearly intends it to be. (Nov.)