Kirkus Star


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For all practical purposes, Andrew Badger was being held captive at a girls' boarding school, where the ""aunt"" who had adopted him was the matron. No one felt any affection for him, and he talked to practically no one until he began, secretly, to be friendly with Ronnie Peters--she was the school misfit, and a girl who liked to hear herself referred to as ""what an extraordinary child."" The school is situated in a small, old- fashioned, sheltered English village, but the whole village and especially Andrew become involved in a strangely mystical adventure with a very well conveyed sense of magic. Andrew assisted by Ronnie finds the Annerlie ring, and at the same time discovers hints that he really is Andrew Annerlie and the true master of Annerlie Hall. The ring begins to demonstrate its magical powers, sometimes sending Andrew into the sheltering, dream world of the cloud forest, and protecting him from the forces of the opposition. They are led by Sir Edward, who has taken over Annerlie Hall and who must force Andrew to surrender the ring to him so that he may achieve total power. The schoolmistresses begin to be ranged on opposing sides, an old ladies' home has appearances of being inhabited by witches, a local lecture series on personality and mind improvement turns into an insidious form of mental control to force Andrew to the other side. Good and evil are a part of the magic but they are treated as indefinable, sometimes ambiguous qualities, which keeps the story from drifting into sweetness. It's a strong fantasy, blended with mystery and homey humor, and it could be the special book for the special reader.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1966
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux