THE RIDDLE-MASTER OF HED by Patricia A. McKillip


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This is the first book in a trilogy, and unlike most such volumes which at least appear to be complete in themselves, it ends with a cliffhanger when Morgon, the young hero, discovers that the benign, all-governing High One he's been seeking, the evil destroyer of ancient legend, and the master who taught him at riddle school are one and the same. For most of this Morgon, an island Prince who (though he won highest honors at riddle school) 's also a simple farmer and wants only to continue in that life, resists the call to some unknown grand destiny that seems to be his by virtue of a mark of three stars on his forehead. Shape changers try to kill him, strangers befriend him, and Morgon goes through a shipwreck, a blizzard, a bout with amnesia, and adventures with a magic harp before accepting the call and setting out to learn his fate from the High One. In an improvement over The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (1974), McKillip has brought her infatuation with heady names and high-sounding diction under control, but this well-devised adventure, so far at least, has a hollow ring, with none of the urgent necessity, for example, that LeGuin gives her Wizard of Earthsea in his different flight.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 1976
Publisher: Atheneum