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 First English-language fantasy from a Canadian author who hitherto has written in French. In the village of Faudace, the lives of young foundling Adelrune and his adoptive parents are governed by the austere precepts of the Rule. Hidden in the attic, Adelrune finds a dusty old tome, The Book of Knights, whose illustrated lives and deeds become his inspiration. And through the window of Keokle's toyshop, which he is forbidden to enter, he glimpses a large doll with a blue dress and blood on her face; for some reason, the doll mesmerizes him and he swears to rescue her, even though Keokle denies the doll's very existence. So Adelrune, now 12, runs away to find Riander, who, according to the Book, trains knights. Riander agrees to help, but Adelrune must pay for his training with six years of his life. Adelrune's final test is to discover his own weapons and armor. Various adventures follow: He helps some shelled beings persecuted by an evil magician, receives assistance from a band of women warriors and witches, crosses the steppe and outwits the dreadful Manticore, serves the vast Ship of Yeldred and forestalls a meaningless war, enters the forest to defeat the evil Queen of Cups, and eventually returns to Faudace to confront Keokleand solve the linked riddles of the doll and his own parentage. Mildly entertaining, with incidents reminiscent of highly diluted Jack Vance, but otherwise undistinguished.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86482-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998