Once again Ruth Nichols (Walk Out of the World, 1969) sends her boy and girl through an Other-journey into majestic, haunted landscapes with enchanted beasts, a witch and a wizard-king. Surely as the pricking of thumbs, strange images portend in the quiet vacation world of Paul and his cousin Linda: a drowned castle beneath the lake, Linda's dream of a wolf with golden eyes, and baffling to Paul (and to his aunt and uncle who had adopted Linda as a baby) his cousin's bursts of temper and fright and brooding withdrawals. Then abruptly, one night on the lake, a whirl of waters brings them to that timeless, brilliant world which soon becomes a battleground of good and evil. And they learn that Linda is indeed a changeling daughter of the dead witch Morgan (who had been destroyed by the good king, Kyril) and a mortal woodsman. Linda's witch powers flare fitfully as she is sent by her half sister, the witch Ygera, to find the golden box which contains ""The Marrow of the World"": a kind of fertile mash and ""the earth from which all life sprang."" The loyal Paul accompanies Linda through hostile weathers and creatures until through their own courage and the splendid presence of the wizard king, the Marrow is found, the witch killed and they return to their home with the brand of Kyril on their wrists -- a link and a gift of greater vision. Nichols has absorbed elements from other allegories to create an entirely new, accessible odyssey; her landscapes are marvels of breadth and space and her children have a quiet solidity and seriousness to offset phantasmagorical splendors.