|The Eye of Night|
Pauline J. Alama
Date: 25 June, 2002 — $5.39 — Book
I received this as a promo at the 2002 San Jose WorldCon, and was pleasantly surprised by its quality. (The prior free book I received from a WorldCon was very blah, despite its well-known authors.) Alama has created a world that is completely new, and a quest that is utterly fascinating (yet low-profile.)
Jereth is an ex-priest whose lack of direction in life is challenged by the appearance of a hideously scarred and deformed woman, with her charge of a beautiful idiot. Jereth's former order endowed him with the power of recognizing true names, and in this world where names are important (though not often hidden), he is able to see more— in this case, that he will follow this woman Hwyn and she will bring meaning to his life.
Her quest is to set free the Eye of Night, the egg of the Sky-Raven. Hwyn does not know what it will hatch— it could hatch the end of the world— and yet she knows what she must do. Jereth assists her in her trek to the north, where it must be born, through the lands of the Troubles, where the signs of impending doom are high. Along the way they encounter ghosts, false piety, summerlands in the midst of winter, and good people at the end of the journey, but the primary story is that of finding something worthwhile in the dross of a life, and of faith in other people.
As far as I know, this is the only book by this author. I look forward to a second.