The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Nicholas, David, Helen, and Roland are exploring an unfamiliar part of Manchester, England, when they discover a derelict church. Retrieving a ball lost during a game, the children go into the building, one by one, until only Roland is left outside. Frightened by music that the other children have not heard and by glimpses of a lame fiddler whom they did not see, he retreats into the church. He meets the fiddler, who, through the power of his music, transports them to another world.

Roland finds himself on a barren seashore close to a castle, which proves to be empty, although he hears the sound of a man singing. The fiddler leads him away from the castle, through desolate countryside that is devoid of living things and any evidence of human presence. They reach a mound, topped by a stone circle, where Roland finally confronts the musician.

The fiddler is Malebron, the ruler of Elidor, a land that gradually is being swamped by the powers of Darkness. Of the four castles of Elidor, only Gorias, visible in the distance, remains in the Light. Malebron is fighting to preserve it and to save the land. He has brought the children into Elidor to rescue its Treasures from the Mound of Vandwy. Roland’s brothers and sister already have entered the mound but did not emerge. Roland must save the Treasures and his siblings, a task in which he succeeds.

Malebron tells the children that he is following a book of ancient prophecies that will...

(The entire section is 512 words.)