cover image Mirror of Destiny

Mirror of Destiny

Andre Norton. William Morrow & Company, $22 (394pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13988-9

Spunky female characters who use their magical powers to engender compassionate resolutions in male-dominated societies have long been one of Norton's (The Hands of Lyr) staples. This prime example of that winning formula introduces 18-year-old orphan Twilla, who, apprenticed to Wise-Woman Hulde, has learned the healing arts and been given a silver mirror to focus her powers. After soldiers seize Twilla and take her to the Far Lands, she is forced into a bridal lottery. Before her distraught fiance can arrange her rescue, Twilla joins forces with blinded Ylon. They journey to a dangerous forest where unmarried males are blinded (as was Ylon), driven mad or destroyed. There Twilla matches wills with the beautiful but wicked Lotis, an enchantress who gains her powers from the forest's great trees. Lotis has joined forces with the Dandus priests, an evil human sect that practices blood sacrifices. Ylon and Twilla also encounter underground dwellers who control the rich region's metals and minerals. Twilla must discover her inner strength to aid Ylon by restoring his vision and thus his sense of manhood. She also needs to find ways to heal the rifts among the forest dwellers, the underground miners and the human farmers. This tall order is classic Norton. (Mar.)