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THE DUBIOUS HILLS by Pamela Dean

THE DUBIOUS HILLS

By Pamela Dean

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-85442-0
Publisher: Tor

 Original, oddball, other-world fantasy from the author of Tam Lin (1992). In the past, after a dreadful war between eight contending sorcerers, the Dubious Hills region was placed under an enchantment prohibiting violence. Young children are full of useful magic but lose it when they grow up, acquiring instead an authoritative competence (``coming into knowledge'') in a particular field. Young Arry, for example, feels the pain of others and can issue instructions for its alleviation; her friend Oonan is the doctor; Mally, a psychologist; Halver, the teacher. Arry, whose parents vanished mysteriously (they were thought to have become werewolves), is responsible for her younger sister, Con, and her brother, Beldi. Con, mourning the loss of their parents, has just lost her magic but has not yet acquired knowledge; she suffers a kind of hurt that Arry cannot quantify or come to grips with. When wolves begin to harry the local sheep, Arry suspects that Halver and her parents are among them. But in order to live as a wolf, Halver must give up his knowledge, and Arry realizes that he intends to challenge the ancient spell that keeps violence from the Dubious Hills. Should she allow their society to be tested, changed, perhaps destroyed? Why did her parents become wolves? Should she prevent Halver's turning others into wolves, even if they wish it? These questions build to a harrowing conclusion that seems to promise a sequel. Different and utterly charming, with enormous appeal on several different levels.