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Magic Steps (Circle Opens S.)
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Gr 5-8-Lady Sandrilene fa Toren, known to readers of the "Circle of Magic" quartet(Scholastic) as Sandry, comes fully into her powers here. Now 14, Sandry is caring for her great-uncle, Duke Vedris of Emelan, after his near-fatal heart attack, when her attention is suddenly seized by two very different events. After witnessing a younger boy, Pasco, unwittingly perform a dance of magical power, she realizes reluctantly that she must take on his magical training before he becomes a danger to himself and others. At the same time, members of a powerful merchant family are being killed one by one by assassins cloaking themselves in "unmagic," or "the absence of all things." Sandry must use all her skill to weave her magic and Pasco's into a force that can overcome the assassins. Readers are immediately plunged into the rich and vibrant atmosphere of Sandry's world, with its merchants, miscreants, and mages. Though the pace of the plot is heart quickening, the admirable heroine remains calm, capable, and always ready to giggle. Violent acts are horrifying but are not graphically described. Fans of the previous quartet and new readers alike will immerse themselves in this thrilling tale of magical intrigue.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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