This is set in the repressive South of Dalemark, scene of Jones' Cart and Cwiddr (1977), and though it features all new characters, it leaves no doubt that we'll be meeting this lot again. Central among them is young Mitt, who hates both the ruling Earl and the revolutionaries whom he believes to have informed on his father, now presumably dead. Mitt in fact has been brought up to avenge his father, planning to destroy both sides with one bomb on the day of a strange festival, whose significance everyone has forgotten, during which symbolic dummies inexplicably named Old Ammet and Libby Beer are to be dumped into the sea. But the plan backfires and Mitt flees, taking off to sea in gunpoint command of a pleasure boat owned and operated by the old Earl's independent-minded young grandchildren. The wary relationship that develops among the three young people is especially well done, and there is a pulse-racing storm at sea during which Ammet and Libby come subtly, impressively to the rescue. Then the trio saves a brutal, cynical thug from another, smaller boat. That he turns out to be the double-dealing assassin who had stolen Mitt's thunder at the festival seems reasonable, but the revelation later on that he is Mitt's missing father as well puts a strain on readers' willing credulity. And the effectiveness of Mitt's ultimate selection by gods (yes, gods) Ammet and Libby, and of the wondrous earth-raising feats those two at last perform on behalf of Mitt and the two threatened children, must depend on readers' receptivity to awe-invoking high fantasy. A well-wrought adventure, in any case.