LOST MAGIC by Berthe Amoss


Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review


 From the author of The Mockingbird Song (1988), a tale that's a curious contrast to Napoli's The Magic Circle (p. 789). Ceridwen is also a healer whose powers, extended for laudable motives, lead her to a witch's fiery end. A foundling raised by one old woman and taught herb lore by another, she finds an honorable place in Lord Robert's castle after fortuitously saving his life; she cares deeply for his little daughter Elinor after the girl's frail mother's death, which Ceridwen is unable to avert. That loss, an older family retainer's jealousy, and a complicated sequence of accusations and heroic but misunderstood attempts to keep Elinor from the Plague (everyone else has been exposed) lead Ceridwen to a witch's pyre--from which she escapes only as a bird. The setting, late-medieval Britain, is more convincingly detailed than the story's magical component. It's not clear what's magic here and what's effective medicine or only the power of suggestion; even the strength of the crucial last scene is dissipated by the uncertainty between its literal and metaphorical readings. And whereas The Magic Circle ends with the triumph of a richly complex spirit over inexorable evil, Ceridwen's story never quite comes into focus. Still, it's accessible and may be a bridge to Napoli--and to Hendry's Quest for a Maid (1990). (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-56282-573-9
Page count: 184pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993