cover image The Tourmaline

The Tourmaline

Paul Park, . . Tor, $24.95 (350pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1441-3

Young Miranda Popescu, spirited from her Massachusetts home by supernatural powers and guided by her sorceress aunt Aegypta's spirit, pursues her destiny as the "white tyger" prophesied to save "Great Roumania" from German domination in Park's lively continuation of the alluringly offbeat alternate-world saga begun in A Princess of Roumania (2005). Miranda's friends—Peter, who gradually transmutates into the charismatic Chevalier de Graz, and Andromeda, who shape-shifts as a stealthy yellow dog, a wily courtier and her own American self—attempt to rejoin Miranda in her quest, constantly harassed by evil Baroness Nicola Ceaucescu and the fearful German Elector of Ratisbon. Park fortifies his beautiful and baleful Roumanian milieu with deft characterizations and a clever ear for Balkan-spiced dialogue a shade shy of realism, while drawing on mythic resonances, like Roumania's skewed religion (Queen Mary Magdalene melds with Aphrodite). His long Roumanian rhapsody resembles the ambiguous gem of its title that holds the power to ignite love—it both glows coming-of-age green and empurples with the passion for power. (July)