Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Moment of the Magician


The fourth installment of author Alan Dean Foster’s Spellsinger series, which he dedicates to Tim Hildebrandt, opens with the Quorum of Quasequa debating the salamander magician Oplode the Sly, who is tasked with going to the Isle of Kuntaweh and fetching Pandro the raven. In the meanwhile, a human magician named Markus the Ineluctable is on the rise, gradually consolidating power, while protagonist Jon-Tom prattles with the turtle wizard Clothahump about his love for Talea. When Jon-Tom hears about Markus hailing from Earth, he thinks the magician may hold the key to returning home.

Thus, Jon-Tom fetches Mudge the otter for another adventure, with the two aiming to cross the river Tailaroam. They soon meet the prairie dog General Pocknet, who brings the travelers to his subterranean home, with he, gophers, and moles fighting in defense of an ugly sculpture known as the Mulmun. Following this, Jon-Tom and Mudge encounter a Will-o’-the-Wisp, a despotic eagle called Gyrnaught, and doppelganger mimevines. The adventurers ultimately find themselves crossing wetlands, where dwells a goop mountain named Brulumpus. The insectoid Plated Folk play a minor part in the narrative, briefly holding Jon-Tom captive.

However, a holt of otters on an island in Lakes District rescues the spellsinger, with the lutrines aiding Jon-Tom in visiting the Quorumate to meet Markus. Unexpected help arrives when the spellsinger’s visit to the magician goes awry, with a battle of sorts concluding the novel’s action. Overall, this is another enjoyable novel in Foster’s series, with plenty of memorable animal characters, mature themes, and references to Earth music. Some of said allusions to said songs might pass over the heads of younger generations of readers, but I definitely appreciated this animal-driven story from a mainstream author, and would recommend it to those who enjoyed its precursors.

No comments:

Post a Comment