cover image Chains of Gold

Chains of Gold

Nancy Springer. Arbor House Publishing, $15.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-87795-830-7

The young virgin Cerilla has been brought to the Sacred Isle as consortfor one hourof the Summer King Arlen before he is to be gruesomely sacrificed in the Winter-King ritual. Trying to escape, Cerilla meets Arlen and they fall in love. Arlen's companion Lonn offers to trick the priestesses and take Arlen's place, allowing the lovers to flee. Lonn's gift has its price, however, as his spirit follows the runaways through harsh and fantastic lands to the home they establish beyond the Mountains of Mystery. When Lonn, in the shape of Cerilla's new baby, announces he will claim her as his own bride, Cerilla consults the Oracle and abandons the babe. Later, she risks Arlen's love and tracks the baby to the Afterworld, braving the Goddess's wrath but eventually earning her protection. Springer, author of Wings of Flame and other fantasies, writes with depth and subtlety; her characters have failings as well as strengths, and the topography is as vivid as are lands of dreams and nightmares. Cerilla is a worthy heroine, her story richly mythic. (August 25)