THE WANDERING FIRE
Book Two of the trilogy begun with The Summer Tree (1984); alas, like its predecessor, hard-working but overwrought, overcomplicated, and dourly unengaging. Once again the five young people from Toronto--muscular Dave, soulful Kevin, hero Paul, seer Kim, and sweet Jennifer--return to Fionavar to battle the evil minions of Rakoth Maugrim. This time they bring along some high-powered help: King Arthur and (also from British legend) the occupants of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. Fionavar, you see, is being threatened by a bitter, unceasing winter sent by the renegade mage Metran, who, allying himself with the supreme evil, has occupied death's Spiral Castle; here, Metran is using the magical Cauldron of Khath Meigol (via some bloodcurdling rites) as his power source. The plotting is furiously complicated but not too convincing. Various good gods lend a helping hand even though it's against the rules. Arthur isn't given anything much to do. Jennifer turns out to be Guinevere. Lancelot makes a belated appearance. Like Paul in volume I, Kevin dies heroically (and, doubtless, equally impermanently). And Rakoth Maugrim's son by Jennifer--will he choose to be good or evil?--lurks in the background ready for volume III. Gnarled prose, heavy-handed proceedings, lots of mythological borrowings and not too much originality: the recipe as before, in short, and thus only for enthusiasts.