This is the third book I’ve read for the to-be-read challenge this year. Also part of my take the challenge, speculative fiction, and fantasy challenges

This is a short little book which was published in 1983. It been said here and there that it’s possible one of the best fantasy books ever. It certainly has its own kind of charm and it’s definitely not epic. Hell, it might even be considered early urban fantasy because it’s set in San Francisco.

Martha Macnamara has come to San Francisco because her daughter has invited her in strangely urgent tones. Liz doesn’t say anything is wrong but Martha can sense it. Unfortunately, the mother and daughter haven’t been really in touch in the recent years. Liz has paid an extravagant room for her mother in a five star hotel but doesn’t tell where she herself lives. But Martha is determined to find her daughter.

However, in the restaurant of the hotel she meets Maynard Long who seems quite mysterious to her. When you look at him in a certain light, he might not even seem fully… human. They have a conversation where each reveals a little about themselves. While Martha is looking for her daughter, Mr. Long is looking for truth which might save him. Mr. Long volunteers to help Martha find Liz and Martha accepts. Liz works in the computer industry and neither Long nor Martha knows anything about it so they must plunge into an unknown world.

But soon, Martha is kidnapped and Long is frantic to find her. Unfortunately, there aren’t many clues.

The book starts almost deceptively mildly compared to the almost frantic ending.

Even though the book starts with Martha, Mr. Long is the real view point character with whom we spent the most time. Martha is a very optimistic person who finds beauty in almost anything. She’s also a musician which is an unusual occupation for a fantasy character. Both she and her daughter are intelligent and independent women. Unfortunately, they are also the only women in the book and end up being victims and pawns in the hands of males.

Mr. Long is an interesting character. He’s a historian, a scholar, and a linguist. In the first conversation between him and Martha, he tells her the continuation of the tale of the Thomas the Rhymer.

Neat little book but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to.

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