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Mythopoeic Fantasy Award nominee 2004.
You never know, in Serre, when and where a tale will become true...
In the tales of World Fantasy Award-winning author Patricia McKillip, nothing is ever as it seems. A mirror is never just a mirror; a forest is never just a forest. Here, it is a place where a witch can hide in her house of bones and a prince can bargain with his heart... where good and evil entwine and wear each other's faces... and where a bird with feathers of fire can quench the fiercest longing...
Returning from war astride his horse, Prince Ronan of Serre accidentally tramples a white hen in the road – and his inattention earns him a witch's curse. It seems not much of a threat, though, to a man so shattered by grief that his life is worth nothing to him. What curse is worse than already having lost your wife and child?
But the witch's words come to pass when Ronan's homecoming is ruined by his fathers pronouncement of an arranged marriage. Numbed by shock and despair, Ronan casts his gaze toward the forest and glimpses a wondrous sight: a firebird perched on a nearby branch. Filled with an unexplainable yearning, Ronan follows the firebird – and slips into a sideways world where the palace no longer exists. But his intended, the beautiful Princess Sidonie, is on her way to that palace. And her fate depends on Ronan wanting to find his way home...