MYTHAGO WOOD by Robert Holdstock
Kirkus Star


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A striking and original fantasy that opens with quiet confidence, unfolds into a wealth of absorbing ramifications, and finally subsides into rather unsatisfying, flat-footed symbolism. Steve Huxley, after a long recuperation from WW II wounds, returns to Oak Lodge, the family seat, only to find his elder brother Chris degenerating physically and mentally; Chris has become obsessed with nearby Ryhope Wood (it may be the last patch of primeval forest left in England) and the weird creatures that live there. According to George (the brothers' late, unloving, preoccupied father), minds interact with the psychic forces of the wood to generate archetypal charcters--""mythagos""--from the human racial unconscious; among the beings described in George's cryptic diary are Guiwenneth, a lovely, red-haired warrior-princess, and the huge, powerful, nightmarish Urscumug. Deep inside the forest, space and time are distorted, and mythagos from both historical and prehistorical times are created spontaneously. Moreover, those who enter the forest are changed in unpredictable ways. So when Guiwenneth reappears--George's version having been killed by a Robin Hood mythago--the brothers each find her as irresistible as George did. Thus the stage is set for fierce sibling rivalries and a final showdown deep inside the forest--with both brothers threatened by the looming, sinister Urscumug, a mythago-embodiment of their dead father. The approach could have been more felicitous, but Holdstock's fantasy-idea is one of the most exciting and arresting in years. All in all, an impressive advancement on Eye Among the Blind (1977).

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1985
ISBN: 0765307294
Publisher: Arbor House