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Pigs Don't Fly    by Mary Brown order for
Pigs Don't Fly
by Mary Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Baen, 1994
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Although linked to The Unlikely Ones, it is not necessary to read it before Pigs Don't Fly. In this charming tale, Summer finds herself homeless after her mother's sudden death and is determined to find herself a husband and a comfortable home. She is undeterred by her background (her mother was the village whore) and the challenges facing her. However, she is hopelessly soft-hearted. En route, Summer acquires a gaggle of creatures who need her help: a stray dog, a hurt and frightened horse, a pigeon with a broken wing, a tortoise left to freeze in a rich man's garden, and a knight blinded in an ambush. And of course, Summer just couldn't leave the poor winged piglet to ill treatment in a sideshow.

Summer's inheritance includes some very odd coins that belonged to her father, a traveller who had been to distant lands, judging from the coins and an unusual ring. The ring is made from a unicorn's horn and enables Summer to communicate with the animals. Because she has promised to see all her charges safely home, they wend their way over a long distance, guided by only the vaguest of clues. They encounter many dangers and adventures en route.

Summer is an exceptionally appealing heroine, generous and true to her word. Once again, Brown creates a host of wonderfully real characters, from the flying pig to Summer herself; and once again she treats us to a vividly limned mediaeval world that is filled with enchantment as well as challenge. It is fascinating to see the growth in Summer as she changes from a naNaNve child infatuated with the handsome and helpless knight, to a confident young woman. Equally endearing are the animals, who accept hardships philosophically. As the gentle pigeon says, 'Living is better than not-living, whatever it brings.'

Brown provides a wonderful read. In this tale she once again puts a surprising twist into her plot as the odd little piglet keeps growing and growing and growing ... Summer fulfills her pledge to her little band, but finds at the end that she has a new goal, much different from the comfortable respectability she once thought she wanted. Her quest continues in the second volume of Summer's adventures, Master of Many Treasures.

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