These days one often finds how undeserving of the name "fantasy" the genre seems to be. It shouldn't be that way. If there's one genre that should resist definition, that should seek constantly to define itself by being different to what has gone before, it is Fantasy. It's the genre that need least concern itself with rules and traditions and yet it finds itself dominated with well used tropes, cliches and soap operas.
So when one finds some new and original fantasy, it is an all to rare and pleasant suprise. And that's exactly what I found in this book. I don't read much fantasy these days but I still find myself drawn to what I think the genre ought to offer; stretching of the imagination, eloquant and evocative prose, exciting adventure and moments of wistful contemplation. This book has all these things.
Okay, it's over twenty years old now but that's still quite new in my book. It's not perfect either, the climax seeming to resolve itself with symbolic gestures and characters who just seem to blunder into fulfilling their fate driven destinies. The second half of the book seemed to move along more well trodden pathways involving a more conventional quest element but overall I have to say that this story upholds a very high standard of imaginative originality. I definitely want to see what else this author has to offer.