Dance of the Stones

Reviewed: April 15, 2006
By: Andrea Spalding
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
174 pages, $9.95

In the first volume of Spalding’s Summer of Magic Quartet we learned of an ancient battle between the forces of light and dark, a war which is about to heat up again as the Dark Magic returns for another attempt at domination. Only the Wise Ones stand against it and they long ago hid their talismans of power so that it would not be attracted to their energy and come sooner.

To unearth them and regain the power to ward off the Dark Being, the Wise Ones must recruit the help of four children. Two are native to England. Owen and Holly Maxwell have grown up in an area saturated with legend and places of power. Their cousins, Adam and Chantel, have come to live with them from Canada, a visit which would have been more fun for them if they had not known it was prompted by their parents’ separation and probable divorce.

In the second book the children face the challenge of liberating the circlet of Ava, buried centuries before within the stone circle which surrounds much of the town of Avebury. The children are guided by visions of the past history of Avebury granted to Owen by Ava. He sees the ritual during which the circlet was buried and some of the assaults that have been made on the integrity of the stone circle over the centuries.

In fact, the children face one of those assaults now, as the local planning district determines to bulldoze a stand of old growth forest in order to build a road.

Aside from needing to figure out just how to get the circlet, the four have to deal with the machinations of an evil wraith also imprisoned within the circle, whose mission it is to possess a human in order to thwart the plans of the Wise Ones.

The wraith attempts to possess one of the four, as Owen had been tempted by the evil dragon in the first book. This attempt is unsuccessful, but the possession of a village girl give the wraith lots of opportunity to work its mischief.

When Ava, in her tangible form as a hawk, is injured, the children also have to find a way to save her for the sake of the greater quest.

All this is accomplished, of course. One of the weaknesses of this sort of tale is that we seldom have a sense that the outcome is in doubt. Still, the journey is of interest. Book three, The Heart of the Hill, is just out in paperback and book four is announced on her website as coming soon.