DARK MOON by Meredith Ann Pierce


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In a world of unicorns, wyverns, and many other intelligent races, most are bitter enemies. Only humans dwell aloof, oblivious to the others; only they have mastered fire to stave off winter's cold and to power kilns and forges. Aljan (""Jan""), warrior prince of the unicorns, is marked by the crescent that prophesy says signifies the firebringer. Attacked by gryphons and lost in the sea, he's rescued (exhausted, battered, his memory shattered) and taken in by humans, leaving new mate Tek and his tribe distraught. In the humans' city, Jan is horrified to find enslaved horses, but he does learn to make fire by striking his heel with his horn. His memory recovered, he escapes with Ryhenna, a friendly mare, determined to rebuild his tribe (decimated by a harsh winter) and to end the discord among all the races. Unfortunately, this sequel to Birth of the Firebringer (1985) is unexpectedly leaden. Jan is apparently meant as a blend of Prometheus and King Arthur, but too much here is merely silly rather than heroic--e.g., his acting like a unicorn-sized cigarette lighter, or the scene when he and the importunate Ryhenna decide to be just good friends--while magic, gods, or coincidence is dragged in for convenience all too often. Fans will miss the romantic, imaginative spirit that illuminated Pierce's Darkangel trilogy.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: "Joy Street/Little, Brown"