THE THIRD MAGIC by Welwyn Wilton Katz


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The author of False Face (1988) turns from Indian lore to Arthurian legend--in a story in which trouble between the protagonist's parents provides the impetus fora fantasy adventure; this time, the fantasy virtually consumes its realistic frame. Visiting the ruins at Tintagel in Cornwall, 15-year-old Morgan Lefevre is suddenly, terrifyingly transported to another world: Nwm, where the First Magic (wielded by powerful members of the Circle, a pre-technological force that is clearly female but in no sense nurturing) is in bitter, often gory, conflict with the Second Magic (held by the Line, which is male, military, and--unlike the Circle--uses both fire and metal). The Circle has sent one of its number (Morrigan) to Arthurian Britain as Morgan le Fay; the Line, trying to recall her, got the 20th-century Morgan by mistake. Most of the book involves Morgan's escape from both forces, aided by Arddu, Morrigan's twin; eventually, the two acquire a sword and are transported to early Britain--where Arddu fulfils his destiny as Arthur and the two magics join in a third. Finally, Morgan returns to her original time as her own descendant. A fine adventure, complex but carefully developed. Devotees of Arthurian legend may be taken aback to find it playing such a minor, or backstage, role--it's a little like going to Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. . .and waiting for Hamlet. Still, demanding and intriguing.

ISBN: 689-50480-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: McElderry
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