The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Riddle of Stars was first published in three separate volumes. The Riddle-Master of Hed concerns itself primarily with Morgon, the Land Ruler of Hed, a young man with three mysterious stars on his forehead. Morgon has won a riddle game with a dead king, entitling him to the hand of Raederle, the second most beautiful woman in An. When he leaves Hed to ask Raederle to marry him, he is attacked repeatedly by Shape Changers. Morgan discovers that the Shape Changers were responsible for the deaths of his parents, who were trying to bring him a harp with three stars. The Shape Changers are wild and lawless killers. They do not care whom they hurt as they pursue and harass Morgan.

Under a mountain in Isig, Morgan discovers a cave containing the children of the Earth Masters. These children have been turned to stone, but Morgan’s presence revives them long enough for them to give him a sword with three stars embedded in it and to name him the Star Bearer. After he receives the sword, Morgan, who has been trying to avoid his destiny and return to Hed, bows to the inevitable. He follows Deth, the High One’s harpist, to Erlenstar Mountain. There, instead of receiving answers from the High One, his mind is painfully stripped of the awareness of the Land Rule of Hed by the wizard Ghisteslwchlohm. As Morgan lies in torment in the darkness, he is haunted by the sound of Deth’s harping.

Heir of Sea and Fire begins with Raederle of An, Morgan’s sister Tristan, and the Land Heir of Herun, Lyra, commandeering a ship and sailing toward Erlenstar Mountain, where they hope to get answers from the High One about whether Morgan is alive and why the High One allowed him to be tortured. While they are traveling, Raederle is set upon by Shape Changers. One of the Shape Changers informs Raederle that she has inherited their magical abilities. Raederle realizes she desires that incredible power, and the desire scares her.

When the women learn that Morgan is still alive, Lyra and Tristan return to their own lands, but Raederle goes...

(The entire section is 848 words.)