Patricia A. McKillip is a winner of the World Fantasy Award, and the author of many fantasy novels, including The Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, Stepping from the Shadows, and The Cygnet and the Firebird. She lives in Oregon.
In what is probably her best-known work, The Riddlemasters of Hed, McKillip combined shape-shifting, riddle-solving and the desire for wild and unbridled power into a richly fantastic tale. Here, she returns to those themes, adding a strand of the fairy world to her rich web of enchantment. Prince Talis, heir to the Pelucir throne, has been away from his homeland studying magecraft. At the wizards' college, he discovers a mysterious book of spells whose words carry hidden meanings. Returning to Pelucir, Talis encounters the Queen of the Woods, who is looking for her daughter, Sorrow, lost ever since the mage Atrix Wolfe misused his magic to divert a war. Now Talis and Atrix must solve the riddle of Sorrow's existence, and rid the world of the evil that Atrix conjured. Though McKillip's latest is less strongly plotted than some of her earlier novels, her words and images remain masterfully evocative as she manages to invoke great beauty using the simplest language. Connoisseurs of fine fantasy will delight in this expertly wrought tale. (July)