McKillip, it seems, has not decided whether to spoof traditional romance or to emulate The Thirteen Clocks in this fanciful distillation about a questing Cnite. The object of his search is a nonexistent Throme, purportedly written by the Erril of Sherill long ago in another world, which the King of Everywhere demands in return for his daughter, the weeping Damsen. During his journey the Cnite borrows a dagon from a girl child named Elfwyth, falls into a boy's borebel trap, and is warned of the heartless Lady Gringold by a jingler in a norange orchard. He is gradually divested of his sword, shield and armor, is variously misdirected to the Mirk-Well of Morg, the Floral Wold, the Dolorous House of the dead Doleman, and the Western Wellsprings, and finally writes his own Throme from ""the tales and dreams and happenings of his quest."" McKillip's enchantment with words is matched by some felicity and Noonan's pictures echo the mood of delicate fantasy, but the author has not escaped the Peril of Preciosity in her quest for the quintessence of a genre.