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Guy Gavriel Kay.
Toronto, ON: Collins, 1986.
298pp., cloth, $22.95.
ISBN 0-00-223044-5. The Fionavar Tapestry #2. CIP.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Patrick Dunn.

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

At long last, volume two of Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry is out. Book one, The Summer Tree ¹, introduced us to the five friends, Kimberly, Kevin, Jennifer, Dave, and Paul and the roles they were fated to assume in Fionavar. That work ended with Jennifer's abduction to Starkadh, Maugrim's icy fortress, and Kimberly's frantic effort to save her companion from the Unraveller's clutches. This one begins back in present-day Toronto with all safe (if only temporarily) but certainly, as far as Jennifer is concerned, not sound.

While imprisoned she was raped by Maugrim and now carries his child. Plunged into a bout of depression so deep as to be almost unreachable Jennifer poses a very real problem for the rest of her agonized friends. In an attempt to help her begin to reestablish normality, Paul invites her to an exhibition at an art gallery. There they are assaulted by Galadan, the Wolflord, Maugrim's minion sent to kill Jennifer and the unborn child she bears, for it poses an unknown threat, a randomness that is outside Maugrim's purpose. Fortunately, the power he gained when last in Fionavar enables Paul to elude the assassin. However, he and Jennifer find themselves back in Brennin and, as a result of the "crossing." her delivery is premature. She gives birth to a son whom she names Darien. Leaving him with Vae, a woman in Paras Derval, the two seek out Jaelle, the High Priestess of the Goddess, and with her assistance they are able to return home.

With Darien's birth and the threat of Galadan, the five are forced to accept, whether they wish it or not, that their future is inextricably linked to Fionavar's. Guided by Kimberly's "sight," they journey to Stonehenge. There on the Somerset Plains she summons the Warrior Condemmned, none other than Arthur Pendragon, and together the six "cross" to Fionavar to wage war.

Once there, they find the land locked in perpetual winter. In order to attempt to break the Unraveller's monstrous spell it is decided that Paul should accompany Loren Silvercloak and Matt Soren, the Dwarf, on a dangerous sea voyage to the island of Cedar Sedat, there to confront Metran, once First Mage of Brennin, now servant to Maugrim. Dave is to remain with the Dalrei who are attempting to protect The Plain from the Unraveller's advancing hordes of wolves, svart alfar, and urgach. Kevin, feeling left-out and hopeless, is drawn to a fateful meeting with the Goddess. Kimberly continues to act as seer, her foreknowledge invaluable in the struggle. And Jennifer, to her utter dismay, discovers the agonizingly painful role she cannot escape as the threads of destiny spin themselves out.

The first book proved Kay a more than masterful storyteller. This is no less true in the second. His utilization of the Arthurian Legend and the secondment of its central figures, Arthur, Guinivere, Lancelot, is handled brilliantly and imaginatively and adds a final richness to the already wondrous fabric of his amazingly compelling fantasy world. As well, the further development of secondary characters is superb. In particular, the continuing romance between Diarmiud, the High King's brother, and Sharra, Shalhassan's daughter, is treated with insight and humour. The latter, it must be said, is not at all unimportant, for in this installment we find that the stakes are all too real. Fear is certainly well founded for Maugrim is no cartoon monster. Lives, many of them, are lost in the struggle to defeat the evil he has unleashed.

Enough said. Read for yourself to discover who answers when Dave sounds Owein's Horn, what destiny awaits Matt Soren after death and resurrection on Cader Sedat, and, most important of all, which side Darien supports in the age-old clash of Light and Dark.

Highly recommended. A must, an absolute must, for all fantasy collections in high school or public libraries. "By Cernan!" as Torc would say, buy this book or be forever cursed.

Patrick Dunn, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

¹ Reviewed vol. XIII/5 September 1985, p. 907.

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