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Cherryh continues the tale of magic and wizardry gone awry in ancient Russia that began in Rusalka and Chernevog . The protected childhood of young wizard Ilyana, the 15-year-old daughter of adventurer Pyetr Kochevikov and former rusalka (devouring ghost) Eveshka, is brought to an abrupt end when Eveshka discovers that her daughter's erstwhile playmate is none other than the rusalka of Kavi Chernevog, the evil wizard who had loved Eveshka and destroyed her earlier life. When Chernevog takes over the nearly lifeless body of Yvgenie Pavlovitch, a young man fleeing Kiev and his powerful father's wrath, Ilyana loves both--the childhood playmate and the newcomer in her life. After her parents threaten Chernevog/ Yvengie, Ilyana flees with him, pursued by her father and wizard uncle. It soon becomes evident that other, older powers are taking a hand, making the little family a pawn in a game of revenge and magic. Cherryh weaves a complex psychological tale of magic, with wishes that lead to unexpected results and wizards who go into hiding because they fear the consequences of their actions. (Nov.)

Pyetr, his wife Eveshka, and his best friend Sasha (both wizards) have settled into a comfortable routine in their isolated forest home. Then a half-drowned young man named Yvgenie enters their lives--and the trio recognize the spirit of an old enemy, returned from the dead to threaten the life of Pyetr's daughter Ilyana. Continuing the story begun in Rusalka ( LJ 9/15/89) and Chernevog (Ballantine, 1990), Cherryh returns to the setting of pre-Christian Russia, steeped in supernatural lore, for her latest tale of magical adventure. Atmospheric intensity and an understanding of human complexity combine to make this novel a worthwhile purchase for most libraries.

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