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Friday, June 29, 2007

Who is the Star-Bearer?

...and what will he loose that is bound?

Recommended: The Riddle-Master of Hed (Patricia McKillip)

Morgon of Hed was born to the land-rule, to quiet farming and selling grain to the spring traders. But when Morgon wins a riddle-game with an ancient specter, he finds that destiny waits for him far from the peace of Hed. Morgon's brow is marked by three stars, and only he can pluck the strings of a dead wizard's harp inset with three red stars. This is a world where an unanswered riddle can mean death, and Morgon leaves behind him a trail of riddles as wide as the river Ose.

Raederle of An, the second-most beautiful woman in the three portions of An, is promised to whoever wins the crown from the ghost of Peven. But when Morgon never comes to claim her, and the lands begin to churn with chaos, Raederle ventures forth to find Morgon and to protect him from the sea-born shape-changers that hunt him solely for the name he carries.

Deth, the High One's harpist, has for centuries traveled between kingdoms, serving the High One and the land-rulers alike. For longer than anyone can remember, he has been counselor and confidant, teacher and musician, and sometimes lover, to those that rule in the High One's name. But as the world turns under Morgon's path, Deth's fortune fails, and he to whom all places were once open is barred from each kingdom in its turn. At last he must hide in the wilderness far from those who would kill him and begs for the money to buy a harp that he plucks clumsily with maimed hands.

Patricia McKillip's fabulous trilogy (The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind) is collected in a single volume by Ace Books. I almost fainted when I saw it recently at a bookstore; it's a treasure. You'll also find the books easily in the juvenile section of your library. The stories are so steeped in beauty and emotion that I am moved whenever I even think of them. I hope you'll feel the same way.

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