The daughter of rich but neglectful parents, Terisa Morgan lives alone in a New York City apartment, a young woman who has grown to doubt her own existence. Surrounded by the flat reassurance of mirrors, she leads an unfulfilled life-until the night a strange man named Geraden comes crashing through one of her mirrors, on a quest to find a champion to save his kingdom of Mordant from a pervasive evil that threatens the land. Terisa is no champion. She wields neither magic nor power. And yet, much to her own surprise, when Geraden begs her to come back with him, she agrees.Now, in a culture where women are little more than the playthings of powerful men, in a castle honeycombed with secret passages and clever traps, in a kingdom threatened from without and within by enemies able to appear and vanish out of thin air, Terisa must become more than the pale reflection of a person. For the way back to Earth is closed to her. And the enemies of Mordant will stop at nothing to see her dead.
As a followup to his bestselling Thomas Covenant trilogies, Donaldson presents another lengthy, dense fantasy adventure in the first of the two-book sequence Mordant's Need. This first volume introduces the land of Mordant, beset from without by armies and monsters and from within by plots, dissension and madness. The search for a champion goes awry as the Congery of Imagers first lures poor little rich girl Terisa Morgan from our world, and then snatches a mysterious warrior whose futuristic weapons destroy part of the castle he is supposed to defend. Terisa rises to the challenge, quickly becoming a key figure, a wild card among the many cliques and powers vying to save or seize king and kingdom. Donaldson scores with the magic discipline of imagery, in which mirrors serve as windows on alternate worlds. His characterization, however, is either derivative or programmatic (in a world without ordinary mirrors, no one can be taken at face value). Readers are likely to be hooked by the interlocking intrigues and progressive revelations among a large cast in a vast old castle riddled with secret passageshooked, but probably disappointed, for this overlong volume is all buildup for the second. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo.