An evocative and sensuous fantasy, set in a Lapplike culture, by the 27-yead-old author of the highly acclaimed The...

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THE WOMAN WHO LOVED REINDEER

An evocative and sensuous fantasy, set in a Lapplike culture, by the 27-yead-old author of the highly acclaimed The Darkangel and A Gathering of Gargoyles. Caribou's presence has earned her the title of ""i'dris,"" seer and dreamer of dreams, from her Tribe whose people fear, respect and need her, but never accept her. She is ""not yet 13 summers"" when her brother's wife brings her the infant sired not by her husband but by a lover taken in his absence. Caribou reluctantly takes the boy, whom she names Reindeer because of his fascination with the habits of the wild herds, and raises and loves him in her outcast solitude. As years pass, Caribou discovers that her charge is not a human child but a trangl, the magical offspring of her fair-sister and a golden stag. Reindeer's blood is as gold as his hair and expressionless eyes; at maturity he can shuttle between his human and stag forms. Now he must leave Caribou, drawn by instinct to run across the Burning Plain with the wild deer. In his absence the Firelords, lords of the earth, are churning their domain in order to mine more gold and silver, which threatens the lives of Caribou's people. They come to their i'dris for help in escaping the destruction of their homeland. As a trangl, Reindeer neither has nor understands human emotions, but his affinity for Caribou brings him back to her--now as a lover instead of a son--just when she needs him to help her take her people to habitable territory. Reindeer agrees to lead the way in exchange for Caribou's promise to bathe in the Forge of the Fireking, ""a geyser of burning gold"" that transforms humans into traangol, and spend her life running with him and the wild herds. The pair takes the Tribe on a perilous journey; Caribou's success wins her the acceptance of her people, who ask her to be their chieftain, but she refuses out of love for her trangl. Reindeer, however, who sheds golden tears for the first time, has learned from his lover that he cannot take what is not freely offered, and tells Caribou--pregnant with his trangl child--to remain with her people. He leaves to run with the wild deer, understanding that she will one day send their son to join him. Through prose that reads like poetry, Pierce has fashioned an exciting, imaginative backdrop for her wise exploration of the themes of love and trust. But sexual content makes this perhaps too sophisticated for preteens.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 1985

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1985