Like Anthea Davies' Sir Orfeo (KR, 1973) this is the noble English minstrel whose perfect music ransoms his beloved queen away from the realm of the faeries and back to the peaceful kingdom that's been held in trust by the faithful steward Amilon. Hieatt renders this gentler tale with more poetry (including Orfeo's medieval songs) and more conviction in the importance of the theme -- the power of harmony; however, her enthusiasm for adding elements from other sources -- a visit by Orfeo to Camelot, an association of Orfeo's beloved Etain with forest spirits, a threat to the kingdom by an evil steward -- embroider the tale without expanding its significance for those unfamiliar with the sources. Though these preliminaries do little more than introduce the magical faery powers and the menacing darkness of the Wild Hunt, Orfeo's descent to the kingdom of Midir -- where richly dressed courtiers mingle with the ""maimed and terrible"" servants (the dead?) -- will disappoint no one. Elegant, and after a slow start, compelling.