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by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Pub Date: March 14th, 2000
ISBN: 0-671-03660-2
Publisher: Pocket

From the authors of several science fiction collaborations (The Gripping Hand, 1992 etc.), a fantasy set in Niven’s Magic

Goes Away universe, where, in a prehistoric epoch, magic is fading from the world. In Tep’s Town, civilization has devolved

into gang warfare, theft, and periodic bouts of mayhem, robbery and arson known as Burnings. Young Serpent’s Walk gangster

Whandall Placehold spies on the prosperous Lords (their soldiers wear armor) until he’s detected, beaten, and ejected from what

he considers Paradise. So, using his plant lore—plants are highly dangerous hereabouts—Whandall prepares drugs for the magician

Morth of Atlantis (Morth killed Whandall’s father by accident, and considers he owes Whandall a debt). Whandall gains a

magnificent magical tattoo. He resolves to quit the town, but during the next Burning he’s possessed by the fire-god Yangin-Atep;

fire spurting from his fingertips, he flees through the forest with wagons drawn by unicorns and accompanied by Morth and the

lovely Willow. Soon, Morth discovers unrefined gold (a potent source of magical power) in a nearby stream. Crazed by the power

it gives him, Morth vanishes to do battle with his nemesis, a vengeful water sprite. Whandall traverses the forest and joins the

wagon train that trundles along the Hemp Road. He marries Willow and becomes very rich. Many years pass. Then comes a

message from Morth, who once again requires Whandall’s help.

Vivid and unusual, if sometimes unnervingly similar to Niven’s 1997 science fiction outing, Destiny’s Road: well worth