cover image The Woods Out Back

The Woods Out Back

R. A. Salvatore / Author Ace Books $6.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-441-9

Napping after a dreary day in his dead-end job, Gary Leger wakes to find he has been kidnapped into ``the world of the Faerie.'' Mickey McMickey, a leprechaun, has brought him to join the quest of Kelsey Gil-Ravadry, an elf who hopes that by following ``the legends'' he can repair a spear that belonged to an ancient king; the spear has great powers and is able to communicate with its possessor. Gary's reluctance to go questing is overcome by Kelsey's simple argument: help me or I'll kill you. As the trio ventures forth to corral a dwarf blacksmith (to reforge the spear) and a dragon (to supply the fire needed), they find themselves thwarted by the evil sorceress Ceridwen, who sends trolls and goblins to attack them, among other impediments. In this story, which initiates the Spearwielder's Tale series, Salvatore ( The Legacy ) does not adequately explain for what purposes Kelsey wants the spear or why Ceridwen opposes him. Also, it is discouraging to see Gary working for cooperation among various male creatures--human, elf, leprechaun, dwarf and giant--while the tale offers few female characters, all unappealing and all of whom endanger the quest. (Oct.)