The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Within a frame narrative in which three men dream the same dream, the story is told of Rodvard Bergelin, a minor functionary in the government of Dossola who is also a member of a subversive organization called the Sons of the New Day. Rodvard is commissioned by the leaders of this organization to seduce Lalette Asterhax, the descendant of a line of witches whose hereditary magic—embodied in the eponymous gem—is transferable to their male lovers. He reluctantly agrees, but he mishandles the task; he succeeds only because Lalette wants to avoid an alternative liaison cynically arranged by her family. Witchcraft is proscribed by both church and state, and the accidental revelation that her latent power has been activated results in Lalette and Rodvard being forced to go into hiding.

After the two fugitives are taken in by members of a heretical sect called the Amorosians, Rodvard receives new instructions from the Sons of the New Day. He uses his magic to small but significant effect in a spying mission, but the jewel loses its virtue when he sleeps with a chambermaid, and he is forced to flee again. Lalette’s magic saves him and reactivates the Blue Star, but she finds it politic to go into exile, seeking asylum among the Amorosians of Mancherei. Rodvard is forced to make his way to Mancherei, having been sold into the service of a sea captain. In the course of their sea voyages, Lalette and Rodvard both are threatened with rape, but they arrive...

(The entire section is 430 words.)