The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

This novel has an unusual publishing history. After having the novel rejected twelve times because it did not seem to fit the type of fantasy many publishers were looking for in the mid-to late 1960’s, Piers Anthony finally sent the novel to a fan reviewer, Richard Delap, who loved the book and published a favorable review of it in his fanzine. Ted White of Fantastic Stories saw the review and published the novel in two parts. After Anthony received two more rejections, Berkeley accepted the novel seventeen days after receiving it. A change of editors at Berkeley resulted in the novel not being published there. It finally was published in 1977, in a small press edition, then for Dell in 1979.

In the novel, Hasan, a young Muslim merchant, is lured from his home by a display of an alchemists magic of changing copper into gold. Hasans naïve yearning for adventure and riches, combined with his devotion to the ways and customs of his faith, causes him to disregard numerous clues to the Persian magicians evil nature. He winds up stolen from his home, trapped as a slave to the Persian, Bahram the Guebre, foremost magician of Persia.

When Hasan and the magician reach the base of a extremely tall mountain, Hasan is confined in a camels hide and carried by a Roc to the top, where he is supposed to find a precious herb the magician needs to create his elixir. When the magician leaves him to starve on the mountaintop, Hasan takes comfort in...

(The entire section is 563 words.)