Tanya Huff,
Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light
(DAW, 1989)

An Adept of the Dark is loose in the City of Toronto. His plan is to open a Gate between his world and ours, allowing the Dark forces to flood the world. If he succeeds, all Hell will literally be let loose.

Opposing the Dark Adept is an Adept of the Light called Evan, who looks like a punk kid, except when his wings are showing. Evan has been summoned into this world to fight the Dark Adept by the unlikely couple of Rebecca and Roland.

Injured in a car accident as a child, Rebecca's development was arrested at a young age. Although she is able to function in society, hers is an existence of strict rules and lists telling her when to buy groceries, when to go to work, when to sleep. But Rebecca's life is not devoid of light, because she has the Sight and can See the little creatures that live in the hedges, including the man with the red cap living in the tree outside her apartment building.

When the little man is attacked, Rebecca turns for help to the one person that she knows will believe her: her friend Roland. Roland is a street musician whose Uncle Tony wishes he would grow up and get a Real Job. Roland, even though he does not know it, is a Bard in training and has a touch of the Sight himself, enough so that when Rebecca shows him her friend Alexander, he begins to See the "littles" too. It is at his and Rebecca's invitation that Evan is allowed to enter the world.

Their other ally is Daru Sastri, Rebecca's social worker. Employed by Metro Social Services, Daru sees and fights against darkness every day of her life. She is only too happy to join in the fight to rid the world of the Dark Adept.

Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light falls firmly into the urban fantasy camp. All the magic and confrontations between the Light and the Dark take place in Toronto, while the citizens of that city move about their daily lives unaware. There is one strange exception, however, and that occurs when Roland falls into the hands of Darkness, and finds himself thrust into a world literally made of fairy tales, wherein is found the book's most horrific image (no, I'm not going to tell you what it is), and one that will stay with you as it stays with Roland.

Fans of Mercedes Lackey will enjoy the running joke about Roland's friend in Tulsa who sends him song lyrics, and will undoubtedly recognize the song used near the end of the book. In fact, Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light is very much in the same tradition as Lackey's SERRAted Edge novels and fans of those should also enjoy this.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

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