cover image Long Night Dance

Long Night Dance

Betsy James. Dutton Books, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44485-5

The pillars of Upslope society will never let Kat forget that her mother was a wild, redheaded Hill woman. Kat covers her own red hair with a scarf and often is able to convince herself that she wants nothing more than to be the obedient wife of a staid Upslope merchant. In a rebellious moment, Kat allows herself the luxury of a walk by the sea. On the beach she finds Nall, a half-drowned Rig, one of the seal people of song and legend. Kat knows that she cannot care for Nall on her own, so she ventures to Downshore village to seek help from the healer Mailin. As Nall regains his strength, Kat, of course, falls in love with him. But as much as she cares for Nall, Kat is beset by her newly emerged desire to learn more about herself, her mother and her mother's people. One thing is certain: Kat can no longer live within the confines of Upslope society, and, on the eve of the Long Night's Dance, Kat takes actions that will change the course of her life. This shimmering and passionate tale will leave readers yearning for a sequel. The author has constructed a fantasy world as rich and complex as Lloyd Alexander's Prydain. Though Kat's land is anchored firmly in the mythic past, it is also a chilling reflection of contemporary times. Ages 12-up. (July)