RED MOON AND BLACK MOUNTAIN: The End of the House of Kendreth by Joy Chant

RED MOON AND BLACK MOUNTAIN: The End of the House of Kendreth

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Even as high fantasy goes, Joy Chant's land of Vandarei is a bit top-heavy with apostrophe'd proper names, obscure feuds, and grave, archaic formulations. However, readers who consider this sort of baggage to be all part of the fun will have good reason to be satisfied with the whole of this intricate, tripartite saga in which three children are propelled into an ongoing war between the High King of Star Magic and his Lucifer-driven rival, Fendarl. While Penelope becomes the companion of the lovestruck enchantress In'serinna, and Nicholas, a skeptic who is never quite at home in this world, travels with the outcast Borderer, their older brother Oliver is adopted by the nomadic Hurnei and fits effortlessly into his role as a warrior hero. Later, in battle scenes which are extraordinarily physical and compelling for the genre, Oliver must overcome his fear to lead the Hurnei charge and then meet Fendarl in single combat. Finally he decides to expiate his blood guilt by offering himself as a ritual sacrifice--a gesture which proves to be his passage back to earth. There are authentically enchanting moments, such as the battle between white and black eagles under the red moon which governs evil on this planet. Unfortunately there are just as many long, dragging interludes and much overworked, eclectic symbolism. At bottom though, the contrast among the three children's reactions--Penelope's fascination, Nicholas' alienation, and Oliver's commitment--is a strong enough theme to prevail. . . and to engage those who respond to this sort of intricate moral tapestry.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1976
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dutton