Once the Wind united the Valley with the Forest, enveloping them in the strongest of magics. It was a union that endured when the Darkness came, and through it the land was preserved and the evil banished. The creatures of the Forest then retreated into their hidden glades, vanishing into the mists of legend. And the people of the Valley, blessed with the ability to hear the secret messages emitted by all living things, settled in to farm their lands. And so there was peace for many centuries... until the Dark returned.
A student-mage - a thief of sinister scraps of knowledge stolen from the ancient halls of learning - seeks to enslave the Valley and destroy the Forest. To this end, the sorcerer has sundered a family, sending a mother and her infant girl-child fleeing into the woods while holding the babe's twin - a boy - captive in a black tower, to be used in later years to further the mage's base goals of depraved domination. The mother dies but the girl survives, and is adopted by the strange and elusive denizens of the Forest, Safe from the sorcerer's influence, she grows to young womanhood, cultivating the cherished skill that has now been denied the others of her kind: the ability to truly hear the sounds of her world.
But her future will be fraught with trial and terror, for only she can smash the chains that shackle the Valley and its inhabitants. Hers is a destiny to fear, yet one that must not be shirked - even as it impels her toward dread confrontations with sorcerer and demon minions. And it will force her to oppose the one she must conquer and free: the magician's protege and her most powerful adversary. Her bane, her blood. Her brother.
Andre Alice Norton (1912-2005) was an American science fiction and fantasy author (with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction) under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston. Norton published her first novel in 1934, and was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society in 1977, and won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) association in 1983.
Andre Norton. Wikipedia.