|Andre Norton: Scent of Magic|
Eos (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-78416-5
An orphaned drudge, a spy, a prince, a herbmistress, a nameless animal and a highborn lady must work together to defeat an old evil. Given the bare bones, it sounds pretty much like run-of-the-mill fantasy, but Norton's fans know that this gifted and prolific writer rarely deals in the ordinary. She builds credible worlds, well-wrought characters, and highly involved plots that twist and turn like cave snakes in their dark burrows.
The guardian of the orphaned Willadene plans to sell her for a bride price. But the girl cannot abide the smell of the would-be-groom and runs to her friend the herbmistress, begging for aid. The herbmistress protects Willadene and makes the orphan her apprentice. As the herbmistress's apprentice, Willadene steps into an entirely new world, one that involves her with the affairs of court. Willadene can smell evil and magic. Willadene also enjoys some very special powers that involve her with the spy and numerous perilous encounters with evil in the city of Kronengred in a dukedom far, far away.
After six decades of writing fantasy and science fiction and receiving nearly every possible award, Norton still manages to come up with a fresh new approach to magic and the people entangled in it. Scent of Magic delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, action-packed read -- one that can entertain readers of all ages.
I guess you can tell that I am an unabashed fan who read nearly all of Norton's prodigious output -- and enjoyed almost every one.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western Edwina Parkhurst, Spinster, is available from Hard Shell Word Factory.
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