Edward Yeoman and his cousin John Hadley begin to play an ancient, handmade game called Albion's Dream without realizing, at first, that events they set in motion on the board are also transpiring, in parallel, in real life. The first clue comes when Edward notices that faces on the game cards resemble actual people, particularly his tyrannical headmaster, Tyson. Still, both boys feel compelled to play on. When the game falls into the hands of Tyson and the unfortunately named Dr. Fell, the boys are accused of occult practices and threatened with expulsion. In a riveting denouement, Edward is proven innocent and Tyson is replaced--exactly the outcome for which the boys had played. Although the author clearly sets forth the struggle between good and evil, his best storytelling is in the gray areas between such extremes: Edward's capacity for the dark arises from ordinary boyish wishes. Moving handily between board action and school scenes, Norman masterfully manipulates a large number of characters, locations, and ideas. The subtitle's ""terror"" may inflate expectations; this is more a Goodbye, Mr. Chips where events have the potential for going wickedly awry--it's all in the roll of the dice.