YOUNG WORLD

Mystery, magic and adventure

R. KRITHIKA

Mystery, magic and adventure

Fantasy and magic have long had a captive audience of readers. Dhruva Chak, an alumnus from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a member of the International Society of Poets, tries to weave his spell through Wizard's Winter.

A kingdom lost, missing children, two former friends at the opposite ends, a maimed witch, a dreamy dwarf ... all the ingredients available.

A brilliant wizard Morf, thwarted in love, turns to evil believing his best friend Horos has betrayed him. His fury leads him to an alliance with the Broadwitch and the warlock Sarcus.

The threesome wage war against Trueblade, king of Xalon, and his wife Freya — the woman Morf loved. The battle sees the king and queen lost in a sea of floating ice. While the wizard Horos rescues their infant daughter Sapphire, Carthus the boy they brought up as their son watches as his family is torn apart.

Now the two children, a dwarf and the wizard have to find an answer to an ancient question "Wizard, Orphan, Kings' Child and Dwarf/Can they match the power of Morf?" The story swings between the past and the present as it tells of Horos' efforts to bring up the princess and guide Carthus and Dimbo the dwarf into fulfilling their destiny.

It's a racy story, well told. The exchanges between the princess, unaware of her identity, and the mind-reading wizard are amusing but it is Carthus and his grim quest to master himself that holds attention.

However, there are points, which would have been better for a little more detail, like the appearance of Wurm, the witch's son, and parentage of Carthus.

Tantalising hints are all that the readers get. Or is the author readying himself for a sequel?

Wizard's Winter, Dhruva Chak, Rupa & Co., Rs.195.