A thick British fantasy, featuring Alice whose mother is posh but her father isn't (a friend's observation), and involving a...

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IT

A thick British fantasy, featuring Alice whose mother is posh but her father isn't (a friend's observation), and involving a kirkyard, a suppressed legend, and a ghostly hand that clutches Alice's on the hill just as another grabs her choir-boy brother's in the vestry. Because she has inadvertently stirred up the old forces, Alice is haunted by IT, which brings her all sorts of rings (they just turn up) and trouble, surrounds her with winds, and causes objects to fly about when she loses her temper. Alice at last figures out that to lay IT to rest she must ""complete the circle"" linking four ancient, legendary stone ""crosses,"" and to this end she forcefully enlists the cooperation not only of her grandfather the vicar (who believes in IT but disapproves of the pagan rituals) but of an imposing committee and an ecumenical variety of choirs. The task of the choirs and others is to retrace the route of the ancient St. Cuthbert's parade, as Alice goes her own way, battling storms, ghosts, and the momentary temptation to master the power of IT. Mayne too is following a traditional, pre-established route in his handling of this familiar situation, but there is nothing worn out about his conjuring of the terrifying hand, the rings, the spooky stones, and of sturdy Alice herself. Not all American readers will follow or care to follow either the ongoing ""grammar"" dispute between Alice's parents or the stuffy church-centered social activities. For those to whom such exotic elements appeal, this is rich, atmospheric Mayne.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1978