(Maureen) Mollie Hunter (McIlwraith) Kirkus Reviews - Essay

Kirkus Reviews

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The Walking Stones is a very light fantastic, deftly tripped story that seems to tell itself, to unfold] with no more of a prod than the turn of a page and the surest of elements. There's the old man by the Gaelic name of the Bodach who foresees the bringing of forest, lightning, and death to the glen by three men of the same name; his vision translates into hydroelectric power—first damming, then controlled flooding, then reforestation…. Donald Campbell [is] the Bodach's young friend and protege, awed by the old man's promise to forestall the flooding … and wondering why. But the how is a marvel: a wild now-you-see-don't dodge and chase with the Bodach positioning himself at the floodgates eluding capture, preventing the flip of the switch, impossibly yet unequivocally…. "It is known of old that this Copy, or Echo, or Living Picture, is under the command of the man of the Second Sight"; and then Donald discovers in Bocca, his private companion, his own Co-Walker—"You had only to imagine him and he was there beside you," the Bodach explains gently. "But this power fades … and it is only a man of the Second Sight who can keep it for the whole of his life." The ceremonious transmigration later of the dying Bodach's power into Donald's self rivals the vigorous this-wordly talk of dam-construction earlier for sheer entrancing boggling, but there's more … as Donald paces Bocca through the Bodach's race, now his, holding the waters back just long enough to let the stones that walk once every hundred years complete their rites. Then can the flood rush in, then can the Bodach "go to his herd"; and there will be other glens and stone-circles for Donald…. As graceful an unhurried talespin as ever you please or a silver-tongued Bodach could match.

"Younger Fiction: 'The Walking Stones'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1970 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXVIII, No. 15, August 1, 1970, p. 800.