What is a summary of A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first book of Piers Anthony's "Xanth series" titled A Spell for Chameleon is a fantasy novel featuring the protagonist Bink.

Bink lives as a social outcast in the magical land of Xanth because he alone has no ability to use magic. Both his parents, however, adore him, and he is in love with the beautiful Sabrina. One day, Bink feels a sense of empathy for a chameleon he watches change shapes and then be captured by a hawk; he feels the event foretells his own future. Feeling disturbed, he goes to Sabrina for advice, who suggests that he go to Good Magician Humphrey for guidance. Bink feels averse to asking the magician for help because he knows he'll have to work for the magician as a servant for a year in payment for the advice. However, Bink relents because he turns 25 in a month and will be exiled if he is still unable to practice magic.

The journey to Good Magician Humphrey's castle is not an easy one, full of trickery and help given by the plants and animals he encounters along the way. Bink must also cross a great hole in the earth, known as the Gap. The Gap is also filled with dragons and other dangerous being. After making it across the Gap, he next falls into the ocean but is saved by a Sorceress named Iris, whom he next has to fight to protect the throne of Xanth, which she wants for herself. Other adventures along the journey including saving a soldier's life and enduring a magical hailstorm before he finally arrives.

However, sadly, Good Magician Humphrey is unable to figure out what magic Bink possesses though the magician is sure he has one. The magician even writes a note attesting to the fact Bink has a magical talent, and Bink is supposed to deliver this note to the king at his exile trial. Regardless, the king pays no attention to the note, and Bink is exiled.

During his exile, Bink undergoes more tribulations, including realizing he's not truly in love with Sabrina, being captured by soldiers and taken to the evil magician Trent guilty of trying to overthrow the king, and winding up back in Xanth after a battle. If he's discovered in Xanth, he knows he'll be executed. Meanwhile, he meets a woman named Chameleon whose magical talent is changing in cycles from being beautiful to plain to ugly. Together, he and Chameleon save the throne of Xanth. By the end of the book, Bink's sentence of exile has been repealed, and he has married Chameleon.

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