THE ASH STAFF by Paul Fisher


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Some mundane (but easily digestible) embroilments in the ancient Celtic mold. Six orphans, sheltered by old-sage Rhawn from the perpetual winter and the assorted goblins, griffins, etc., under the sway of wicked Ammar, are thrown on their own by his death. Mole(ander), the venturesome, impetuous eldest, inherits Rhawn's ashwood staff; and, on the disappearance of young story-loving Orne (one child is musical, one has a penchant for history, the girl is a fine seamstress, etc.), he organizes a search: Orne, however, is happily listening to the tales of ""Mr. Whirlwind,"" a.k.a. Sodrith, the Spirit of the Sword. Seizing the Sword at its direction, Mole routs the first of the goblins and determines to guide the group to safety in Thrinedor, rather than following his own inclination to find and fight Ammar. But the cajoling, taunting, not-altogether-trustworthy Sword challenges him to go to Ammar alone, abandoning even the staff--a mistake which, fortunately, is soon rectified. With the okay, now, of High King Gion, the six set forth to conquer Ammar. En route, the enchanter Gwarthan explains to Mole that the staff is responsibility, the impish Sword is power; and after due and searing difficulties, Ammar is indeed slain. Pure invention--active but in no wise inspiring.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1979
Publisher: Atheneum