A fantasy debut from the pseudonymous Fisher (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Visual Companion), an established English fantasy/SF publisher and expert on J.R.R. Tolkien. Here, the aging master magician Rahe seemingly goes mad in Sanctuary, his arctic ice palace, and begins destroying the pathways to magic that he has taught Virelai, his 29-year-old sorcerer’s apprentice. Rahe reduces and feeds his spells into his black cat Bète. In the process, he reveals to Virelai, by way of a scrying lens, the horrors and beauties of Elda and the island-kingdom of Eyra in the lands beyond Sanctuary, as well as the naked body of a supernally beautiful woman with silver hair (and no memory), a vision that stirs Virelai’s member to its first-ever hardening (at 29, somewhat delayed). Upset, Virelai leaves a poisoned meal for Rahe, catnaps Bète and her bellyful of magic spells, and sails away from Sanctuary to see a world unknown. Meanwhile on Eyra, red-haired Katla Aransen, 19 and hungry for the world, with her twin brother Fent and merchant father, arrives by sail at the Moonfell Plain and the mount that Eyrans call Sur’s Castle, to attend the Allfair and sell Katla’s famous knives. Katla, a supernaturally gifted rock climber as well as blade-maker, commits sacrilege by climbing the sacred Falla’s Rock, as the Istrians call Sur’s Castle, her blasphemy doubled by her sex. Thus the Istrian elders declare death to Katla. Also arriving at the Allfair—to sell their bloodstock of tricksy and skittish colts—are the Vingo clan, and, after them, shimmering, pulsing caravans of magic nomads called the Footloose. At once, hearts groan as romances twist and turn. Also on hand are the glorious beauty scryed by Rahe, who causes all men to feel fire within.
Nice touches but largely familiar hop-hop-hop kid stuff that never rises to the dramatically big or spineshaking.