Ilya is the son of a boyar, a Russian prince. The boyar's majestic cherry orchard is visited at midnight by the legendary Firebird - a gigantic, magnificent hawk whose wings seem to be made of flame. When Ilya attems - and fails - to catch the Firebird, he is banished.
The young man journeys through a fantastical Russia full of magical mazes, enchanted creatures, and untold dangers. Gifted with the ability to understand the speech of animals, Ilya saves the life of a frox, who becomes his most steadfast companion.
As happens in the best fairy tales, Ilya falls in love with an enchanted princess. To free her, he must battle an evil wizard and a powerful dragon. Magic swirls as Ilya uses his wits, his warrior's skills, and some very unusual allies to save the day and win true love.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also