cover image Black Trillium

Black Trillium

Marion Zimmer Bradley. Doubleday Books, $19.95 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-385-26185-2

Three masters of science fiction and fantasy collaborated on this mildly diverting quest novel, their failure to produce a more compelling tale demonstrating the pitfalls of writing by committee. The kingdom of Ruwenda is attacked by neighboring Labornok, whose king has long been jealous of its wealth and prosperity. Ruwenda's rulers are brutally slain, but their daughters--the three Petals of the Living Trillium, prophesied to save their country in a time of peril--flee to the Archimage Binah, who directs them to their magic talismans. Each accompanied by a childhood companion, Oddlings of the area's aboriginal races, the girls must conquer their weaknesses: the eldest, her intellectual arrogance; the middle sister, her tendency to act before thinking; the youngest, her great timidity. Their enemies pursue them, led by a sorcerer seeking ancient secrets hidden in the abandoned cities. Throughout appear intimations that some of the magic is a relic of an old technology, possibly ours. The three princesses are little more than a collection of attributes, the love story is a bore and the many races of Oddlings are barely distinguishable. (Aug.)