THE NORTHERN GIRL by Elizabeth A. Lynn


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Final volume in the Arun fantasy trilogy (Watchtower, The Dancers of Arun, both 1979)--now concentrating on political tensions in the southern city of Kendra-on-the-Delta, where control rests with a Council of noble families (though the White-Clan witches out in the country are still semi-revered). Key figure on the council is ArrÉ Med, who faces multiple crises: her jealous brother Isak (a great dancer) conspires with an upstart family to smuggle forbidden swords into the city; the White Clan angles for city power; plus--riots and corruption. And, meanwhile, ArrÉ's young bondservant Sorren--drummer for Isak's shows and lesbian lover of ArrÉ's yardmaster Paxe--is becoming aware of her Northern roots and her witchly powers: able to see the past, she mind-travels to Tornor Keep (cf. Watchtower) and makes plans (with advice and archery training from an alcoholic hermaphrodite) to journey north once she's freed. So, after an attempt on ArrÉ's life is repelled and Isak is exiled, Sorren does make the trek, finding Tornor Keep in peril from outlaws and gaining a new love. Again, as in previous installments, Lynn's tackling of serious themes (disarmament, etc.) in a fantasy context is admirable. . . while the imaginary civilization is only murkily sketched-in (the dialogue awkwardly blends 1970s slang with formal jargon) and the plotting is conventional, often sentimental, and sluggishly drawn-out. Still--thoughtful work in a too-often-mindless genre.

Pub Date: Dec. 18th, 1980
Publisher: Putnam