Changeling (Wizard World, #1)
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Changeling

by Roger Zelazny
Release date: 1980
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy

Locus Award nominee 1981.

It all began with an ending. The people had long suffered under Det Morson's power... lived in terror of his dragons and other minions. When, at last, the wizard Mor joined the fight against the evil, Det and his infamous Rondoval castle were destroyed. But the victory was not complete, for the conquerors found a baby amidst the rubble - a child who bore the hated dragon-shaped birthmark of Rondoval on his wrist.

No one wished to kill the helpless infant, yet they dared not allow Det's heir to grow to manhood for fear that he would some day bring back the peril. Then Mor proposed a strange solution to the dilemma.

He said there was a world that existed in counterpoint to their own... a place where science and machine-things reigned, and the ways of magic were considered mere legends. If the baby were taken there, he would never know his true abilities or his origins.

But the law of symmetry demanded that Mor take a baby from the other world to replace young Pol Detson, and that child would also remain ignorant of his rightful heritage. It was not a mission the wizard undertook lightly; still, he felt certain that it would succeed.

Mark Marakson, born Daniel Chain, was different from the other villagers. From earliest childhood he had displayed a gift for making mechanical gadgets, but as the boy matured, his peculiar "toys" gave way to a variety of unnatural devices that disturbed and frightened his neighbours. His mind whirling with ideas, Mark did not understand such fear. So eager was he to improve the villagers' lot, he was undaunted by their rebuffs, and only tried harder to win them over.

Then, one day, he went too far. All their hatred and suspicion exploded into violence, and Mark was forced to see that they would never accept him. That day, injured in body and spirit, he vowed revenge...

Meanwhile, on a very different world, Daniel Chain - born Pol Detson - had found a comfortable niche. As a guitarist in a nightclub, he could let his mind and his music flow. He'd hold listeners spellbound, all the while amusing himself by shaping dragons and other fanciful things in the smoke-filled air above their heads. Dan didn't know how or why he did that... didn't understand the mental energy he exerted in the process any more than he understood the occasional throbbing of the oddly shaped birthmark on his wrist.

But that mysterious mental ability and birthmark would soon determine Dan Chain's fate in a terrifying clash of power... on a world which, as yet, he knew nothing about.

updated 2017-01-26

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