In the Forests of Serre
|Author:||Patricia A. McKillip|
Returning from war astride his horse, Prince Ronan of Serre accidentally tramples a white hen in the road—and his inattention earns him a witch’s curse. It seems not much of a threat, though, to a man so shattered by grief that his life is worth nothing to him. What curse is worse than already having lost your wife and child?
But the witch’s words come to pass when Ronan’s homecoming is ruined by his father’s pronouncement of an arranged marriage. Numbed by shock and despair, Ronan casts his gaze toward the forest and glimpses a wondrous sight: a firebird perched on a nearby branch. Filled with an unexplainable yearning, Ronan follows the firebird—and slips into a sideways world where the palace no longer exists. But his intended, the beautiful Princess Sidonie, is on her way to that palace. And her fate depends on Ronan wanting to find his way home…
Like Ursula K. Le Guin and Jane Yolen, World Fantasy Award winner Patricia A. McKillip (author of Riddle-Master, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and Ombria in Shadow) is one of the great fantasy authors working at the turn of the millennium. In her beautifully written novel In the Forests of Serre, McKillip again demonstrates her intimate understanding of the mysteries of magic and the human heart.
Everyone in the kingdom of Serre avoids the Mother of All Witches, an ugly, powerful, and dangerous woman who lives in the Forest of Serre. But then the grief-blinded Prince of Serre rides down the witch’s white hen and earns her curse. Prince Ronan believes nothing can be worse than what he has already experienced: the death of his wife and their newborn. But soon the curse destroys what little the prince has left, and he wanders lost and half-mad through the Forest of Serre, pursuing a beautiful, elusive firebird that may be an illusion, or his doom. His only hope may be the young Princess Sidonie of Dacia, to whom his brutal father betrothed him against his will… and hers. But Princess Sidonie may have no interest in helping a man she’s never met. And her powerful, mysterious magician-guardian, Gyre, has secret intentions and desires of his own. —Cynthia Ward