It never pays to flout enchantresses, even unwittingly, as poor King Minas discovered when he forgot to ask his aunt (or cousin) Maligna to the birthday feast for Prince Jasleth and Princess Goodness. She came all the same, bringing such nasty gifts that Princess Goodness was reduced to total silliness, the kingdom to near beggary, and Prince Jasleth found himself despatched to seek his fortune despite an embarrassing habit of changing into a raven unexpectedly, for an hour each day.
How Jasleth managed to join Prince Fearless and his hundred rowers in their quest for the Dragon Hoard, how Maligna pursued them with many a fiendish wile, how the questors met an alarming assortment of her repulsive friends and wicked acquaintances (and some more foolish than wicked like the ten-foot mermaid queen, Emeraldis), how at every step doom was narrowly averted, and how a happy ending (naturally) wound it all up, makes this helter-skelter romantic adventure story at once richly comic and most amazingly and agreeably inventive.
Tanith Lee (1947-2015) was a British writer of science fiction, horror and fantasy. She was the author of over 90 novels and 300 short stories, a children's picture book (Animal Castle), and many poems. She also wrote two episodes of BBC science fiction series Blake's 7. She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award best novel award (also known as the August Derleth Award), for her book Death's Master (1980).
She also wrote under the pseudonym Esther Garber.