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    SONGS OF THE DANCING GODS by Jack L. Chalker

    Ballantine Books, 1990

    Joe, barbarian warrior and ex-truck driver from Earth, has a problem. He is stuck by the rules of the magical world of Husaquahr, to continue battling the Dark Baron and the Master of the Dead. Worse, his own ally-magician is unable to offer any assistance and Joe's wife, Tiana, has been transformed from a Queen to a slave girl. All they have to do is cross hundreds of miles of enemy-occupied territory, survive an ancient battlefield which was magically frozen in mid-battle and constantly threatens to erupt, and then kill their own former bodies.

    The rigid rules of Husaquahr (a world made up of the leftovers from the creation of Earth from chaos), constrain Joe's actions, and limit those of Tiana as well. Put in a slave-girl body, Tiana truly is cursed to respond as a slave. In her slave-girl form, Tiana (Mia) learns to trust herself and to achieve a degree of self-understanding that she never could as a queen. Joe hates the form but learns to love the woman underneath it in a way he never has.

    SONGS OF THE DANCING GODS is an intelligent and slightly dark fantasy. It avoids the fairy-tale ending of happy-ever after by requring its characters to sacrifice themselves and what they hold most dearly in order to save their world. Fans of the DANCING GODS series will enjoy the reunion of Joe, Tiana, Marge (the earth-hitchhiker Joe brought with him, transformed to a fairy), and Macore (Husaquahr's greatest thief, now insanely addicted to GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns). See other reviews of novels by Jack L. Chalker

    Three Stars

    SONGS OF THE DANCING GODS has been reprinted as part of THE DANCING GODS Part 2.

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