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Fans of Andre Norton will love this book.

I read little science fiction or fantasy novels these days, but I’m glad that I made an exception with Lee Barwood’s riveting novel. Any fan of Andre Norton’s books would love A Dream of Drowned Hollow. This book, the recipient of Norton’s coveted Gryphon Award, is compelling reading. Indeed, I stayed up all night finishing the book; something I haven’t done for at least a decade.

Ms. Barwood’s story centers on a young woman coming to terms with her innate gifts through an adventure that threatens both life and home. This is a common plot device used by countless adventure writers, the usual result of which often leads to mediocre novels which can only be rescued by fantasy settings (such as time travel or off-world settings) lurid sex, and excessive violence. Barwood needed none of these in Drowned Hollow.

In Drowned Hollow, we are presented with well-developed psychologically distinct characters. The setting is a small community in the Ozark Mountains that is subject to land development. Ms. Barwood transforms the commonness of her plot, characters and setting with strange and disturbing elements. Her heroine and her newfound extended family have psychic abilities. The earth is haunted with spirits that seek both the assistance of our heroine and, perhaps, her destruction. All are threatened by land development that is both sinister and secular. Barwood uses a deft touch with each of these. Except for the walpurgesnacht ending, the plot moves through the interaction of the believably flawed characters. As in Hamlet or Macbeth, the supernatural provides tone and setting. Of greater interest are the mortals whose dark behavior is most disturbing when it is most human.

I’ll not spoil the ending; but rather leave it for the reader to see if they can figure it out in advance. Most will be surprised.

This book is available in a number of formats. I downloaded the text in Adobe format but found it tedious to read on a PDA so I ordered the large print edition on-line and found it in my mailbox a few days later.
---Blair Hearth

Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings

Early reviews:

Jean Charles Bonnet, Antony, France: "Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellingswill nurture your dreams about ancient times. As we say in French, the result of this very professional work is 'merveilleux'."

Helen C. Paul, English Teacher: "This collection
of Aboriginal folk tales has been updated for today's readers and one can almost hear the haunting notes of the traditional didgeridoo and see the red earth of the arid Australian landscape.

Beautifully crafted, these stories of the "Dream Time," as the Aborigines called the beginnings of living things, remind the reader that all morality tales and legends are similar, no matter what civilization or religion. Though often described as primitive, the Aboriginal civilization established an ecological life that enabled them to survive in their harsh land.

This short and easy-to-read volume will be a helpful addition to students studies of diverse peoples."

Franke Stallworth, M.F.A. Art: "A mind-expanding adventure.... The perfect Dream Time experience, not only for ones' children, but for all who are a child at heart."