At the start, it must be understood that Hed was not a place that produced heroes. The people of Hed were farmers. And Morgon was a prince of Hed. But he was something more, too. He was the best student the College of Riddle-Masters at Caithnard had ever had. He had staked his life on a seven-hundred-year-old riddle game that everyone else had lost, and won.
Though Morgon tried to be a simple prince of Hed, the times and his own destiny were against him. For Morgon carried on his forehead three stars, which no one had ever been able to interpret. There was a harp with the same three stars that only he could play. There was a sword with stars that only he could wield, reluctant as he was to take it: the farmers of Hed were not warriors; a prince of Hed could not kill.
Most of all, though, it was the riddles about stars that drew him on. What did they mean, the ones that linked the end of the age with a star-bearer? Who were the legendary figures that suddenly seemed to surround him and lead him into adventures he did not want? Morgon, Prince of Hed, Riddle-Master, did not want to know, and yet, it appeared, he had to find out.
This is the first of what will eventually be three books. It is not a book for readers who like their stories neatly wrapped up in one short volume. It is not a book for readers who like immediate answers to questions asked. The story of Morgon only begins here; many questions are raised, but the answers much come later.
Patricia Anne McKillip (born 1948) is an American author, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a winner of the World Fantasy Award (The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, 1975, Ombria in Shadow, 2003) and Mythopoeic Award (Ombria in Shadow). Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to a poet David Lunde and lives in Oregon.