(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In this sequel to her novel RUSALKA (1989), C.J. Cherryh continues the pre-Christian Russian saga of the previous book’s main characters: the two wizards Sasha and Eveshka and Eveshka’s husband, Pyetr, as they fight the evil magician Chernevog. Eveshka at first seems content to live with Pyetr in their magical home in the woods until something or someone draws her away.

Cherryh takes her readers on an adventure quest as Pyetr and Sasha try to bring Eveshka safely back home. Apparently Chernevog, who had earlier banished Eveshka to the kingdom of the dead, is not finished with her or with those whom she loves most. Initially it was Sasha’s father and teacher, wizard Uulamets, who gave his life so that Eveshka might live again; now Pyetr and Sasha must face and conquer danger and pure evil if Eveshka is to be returned to them. Cherryh not only paints a vivid picture of the northern Russian forest wilderness and ancient, mythical settings but also offers readers an entertaining adventure complete with magic, imaginative beasts, and other creatures, and seemingly impossible obstacles for her heroes to overcome. The fantasy world Cherryh creates is realistic, compelling, and believable because it is drawn with convincing detail and engaging because the conflicts are so clearly rendered.

Readers of fantasy will find that CHERNEVOG captures their imagination and provides entertaining escape to a realistic alternative world.