GATE OF IVORY, GATE OF HORN by Robert Holdstock


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 Another of Holdstock's Mythago Wood series (The Hollowing, 1994, etc.) about a primeval woodland where space and time are distorted and where ``mythagos,'' figures from myth, legend, or dream, become real. Chronologically, this entry comes first in the series, and tells the story of George Huxley, his adult son, Christian, and their mutual obsession with the mythago Guiwenneth, the beautiful red-haired warrior princess from pre-Roman times. Chris's mother, Jennifer, crushed by the whole business, hangs herself from an oak tree after the Arthurian champion Kylhuk emerges from the woods to mark young Chris as his ``slathan,'' a mysterious term not explicated until much later. When Chris returns from WW II, he, like his father, enters the wood in pursuit of Guiwenneth and finds himself bound to Kylhuk's warriors, who must fight the evil sons of Kyrdu over the fate of another hero, Mabon, entombed alive inside a giant tree. Holdstock's figures, from the Welsh Mabinogion, Irish and British myth, are recognizably human despite their mythic origins and magical surroundings. Holdstock's remarkable creation, drawing skillfully upon such rich, resonant background material, exerts an endless fascination.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-451-45570-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: ROC/Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1997


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