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Friday, January 16, 2009

The Riddle-Master of Hed - Patricia A. McKillip

Read for the Patricia A. McKillip Challenge

Morgon is the Prince of Hed, a small, peaceful land of farmers. He’s completely attached to his land, but he’s driven by a curiosity of the outside world unusual to the natives of his land. Unlike any of the princes before him, he ventures to the city of Caithnard, to study with the Riddle Masters, and could have become one himself, had he not been so attached to Hed.

What Morgon doesn’t know is that he’s the center of a number of riddles, and soon, he’s journeying further from Hed then he ever dreamed possible, toward the realm of the High One. Along the way, he learns many things, some of which directly challenge his wish to live out his life in the fields of Hed.

As usual, McKillip has an amazing knack for description, and the various lands and people that Morgon meets on his journey are varied and wonderful. I spent the last half of the book on pins and needles to see how it would end. Since I somehow managed to not read the back of the book, I hadn’t noticed that this is the first book of a trilogy, and I was so disappointed to end the book on a cliff-hanger (and what a mysterious cliff-hanger!).

On the subject of trilogies, I do need to note that I enjoy reading older fantasies (this was published in 1976) and seeing how short an attention span the average fantasy reader must have been thought to have. If the other books of this trilogy are the same length as this one, the entire trilogy is comfortably book length by today’s standards. It is amusing to see how times change.

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