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The Thirteenth Scroll    by Rebecca Neason order for
Thirteenth Scroll
by Rebecca Neason
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2001 (2000)
Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Thirteenth Scroll is the usual 'quest to save a kingdom' fantasy, based on an obscure prophecy. What makes it stand out from the many others on this theme is its quality of writing and intriguing characterization. The tale's heroine is Lysandra, blind after tragedy fells those closest to her. In a woodland retreat she has found a talent for healing, new Sight, and companionship in a silver-white wolf pup that she rescued and named Cloud Dancer.

Visions send her away from her sylvan home and she encounters Father Renan, a priest who is more than he seems, and later the Cryf Talog, who sees Truth and is impervious to Up-world magic. They travel together to Caerryck in search of a child, 'the Font of Wisdom that will be the salvation of Aghamore.' Lysandra learns that she is 'Prophecy's Hand' who can look 'through the eyes of Blindness with a Sight that is more than seeing.'

Of course Lysandra, Renan, Talog and Cloud Dancer are not the only ones on quest; the bad guys are hot on their heels. Neason has not taken the easy way out by painting her villains as pure evil. Baron Giraldus is an ambitious soldier who aspires to be king and loves the sorceress Aurya. She has survived an unwanted childhood to seek control and power, by any means available. Their ally, Bishop Elon, shares her goal and is skilled at manipulating his fellows.

Prophecy and Wisdom finally meet in a place where 'the future danced to the music of possibility.' The Thirteenth Scroll combines magic, action and romance in a struggle against the evil that comes with the corruption of power - and its ending leaves plenty of space for a sequel in the realm of Aghamore.

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