From the author of Playing the Jack (1985): an elaborately written, sentimental, and relentlessly cheerful story of a magical quest, drawn out far too long. In a timeless medieval landscape where animals talk and magic rules, lives are traumatized by magical spells. ""Thing,"" a bedraggled drudge, and her companions Corby, a crow; Puddy, a toad; Pisky, a fish; and Moglet, a cat, have all been ensnared by an evil witch's magical spells: their only hope is to join the similarly afflicted Snowy, a noble but scraggy unicorn, and Conn, a boorish knight whose armor rusts, to seek out the far-off old dragon, himself a victim of the witch's magic, whose power can release them from her spells. Their quest--which leads to a number of dull and predictable adventures, including one with a cruel lady, a carnivorous giant spider, an absent-minded magician, and a bevy of suspicious villagers--is successful, but Brown writes as though she's lifted the outtakes from Edmund Spencer, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Richard Adams and put them through the wash. Long before her characters reach the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow, the reader has been lulled to sleep by contrived dialogue, shallow characters, and mundane plot. Saccharine, silly, and insubstantial adventure, fantasy.