With echoes of Susan Cooper and even George MacDonald, Morris' new book strikes its own satisfying note. Jem is a miller's son with a passion for swimming. Through the magical agency of what is later understood as a ""needspell,"" he travels underwater to the home of a similarly isolated and friendless boy named Thorn. As the boys realize that their societies are enemies, the story wheels around to reveal that in every generation there are those who have tried to bridge the difference between them--including Lady Esclairemond, the elderly inhabitant of a nearby chateau, and Jem's mother herself. A rising flood brings both hopes and fears in its wake. Morris writes with a firm sense of place and characterization; her depiction of the friendship of Jem and Thorn is powerful and convincing. A story for those who already have an appetite for fantasy.