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    THE OTHER WIND by Ursula K. Le Guin


    Harcourt, Inc. 2001

    Minor sorcerer Alder has suffered from terrible dreams. He dreams that his wife, and countless other dead people, are calling him, begging him to set them free. To escape his dreams, he travels around the world of the Earthsea--and learns that he is seeing a true place. Yet even his problems seem small compared to the troubles that gather. The dragons are attacking, driving humans from islands where they have worked for generations. King Lebannen believes that the dream and the dragons are connected, but what can anyone do against dragons--or the dead?

    Author Ursula K. Le Guin (to see reviews of other Le Guin novels, click here) writes a different kind of fantasy. Rather than the huge battles and heroic characters of a Tolkien, Le Guin sets her tales on a smaller stage where the dangers are often personal rather than monumental. Still, the stakes in THE OTHER WIND are high indeed. For the dead "live" on in a strange halfway land, or at least some of the dead do. And Lebannen must both decide their fate and, somehow, break the barriers that confront immortal dragons as well as human wizzards.

    Fans who look for more action may occasionally find this novel slow going, but Le Guin's almost poetic language and her thoughtful presentation of the issues of death and love make THE OTHER WIND a fine contribution to the fantasy genre of which Le Guin is a master.

    Three Stars

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