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Jerlayne
Lynn Abbey
DAW Books, 519 pages


Griesbach Martucci
Jerlayne
Lynn Abbey
Lynn Abbey was born in the city of Peekskill, New York. She attended the University of Rochester getting 2 degrees in European history and was working on a PhD, when she decided to become a computer programmer working in New York City for a large insurance company. About the time of the NYC Bankruptcy Crisis of 1976, she moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. There she began work on her first novel, Daughter of the Bright Moon. Through 80s, she wrote more novels and co-edited (with Robert Asprin) the 12 volumes of Thieves' World,a shared-world anthology series. In 1993 she moved to Oklahoma City.

Lynn Abbey Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jeri Wright

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Jerlayne has always felt herself in the shadow of her legendary mother. When Faerie was facing its greatest crisis, Elmeene discovered the cure for blooddeath and saved the people of Faerie from iron's poison. Two thousand years later, Faerie is thriving and Elmeene's youngest daughter has become a woman. Like any independent, strong-willed daughter, Jerlayne is determined to surpass her mother. When she shapes iron into a chain of twenty perfect links, she proves herself an adult. It is time to wed, found a homestead, and raise children of her own.

Jerlayne and her new husband Aulaudin name their home Sunrise. An Elfin woman runs the homestead, negotiates with her goblin protectors, and Shapes the objects her man forages from the mortal world. Only Elfin men can part the Veil to travel to the land of mortals, and it is there that many of homestead necessities are found. Aulaudin is a talented forager, and Sunrise is soon prospering.

A century later, the picture is not so rosy. None of Jerlayne's children have matured into elves like their parents, and their homestead is nearly destroyed by her daughter's transformation into one of the powerful Guardians of Faerie. Jerlayne confronts her mother with a lifetime of unanswered questions. She knows as well as anyone that elfin bloodlines do not breed true. This is the source of Faerie's various races. But why has Jerlayne had no elfin children at all?

This is a rich, complex fantasy, working on several levels. The story starts with a willful daughter asserting her independence. As Jerlayne grows and matures, she realizes that much of what she assumed she knew about her world and her place in it is shifting; nothing is exactly what it had seemed. Fundamental truths prove to be falsehoods in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead, and she finds herself unable to depend on anything other than her own instincts.

Jerlayne's interactions with the goblins she contracts with to protect Sunrise seem at first to follow the typical route; but "her" goblin is not a usual one, and eventually their novel relationship (she appears to be the only elfin woman to recognize any goblin as an individual) will prove to be the key to a great change in their world.

The interaction between Faerie and the mortal world over the course of the story is also an interesting one, and in the end will prove to be yet another key to the puzzle Jerlayne has found. In the end, her quest for answers will take her back to the founding of Faerie and will threaten to destroy the foundation of her beliefs about her world.

Jerlayne is the kind of fantasy I enjoy; while there is a "big" story, it is told on a small, or personal, scale. Everything centers on the character of Jerlayne and her relationships with the people around her. Her curiosity, her need to know, and her stubborn determination lead her inevitably down the path to enlightenment. Jerlayne had once declared to her mother that she wanted to "Shape the world", much as Elmeene had done when she discovered the cure that saved Faerie. It's a long journey, but there is much to interest, amuse, and entertain along the way.

Copyright © 1999 Jeri Wright

Jeri is a voracious reader who believes that paradise could well be a quiet afternoon, unlimited chocolate, and a novel to lose herself in. She reads and reviews all types of fiction, and enjoys sharing her life long passion for books with like-minded readers.


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