Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master No.3) – Patricia A. McKillip
Ace Books, 1999
Originally published in 1979
Morgon of Hed has been a prisoner, a hunter, a mystery. Together with Raederle of An, he sets off toward the ancient city of the wizards, where the last survivors are gathering to face the master who brought about its ruin so long ago. Shapeshifting warriors seek Morgon, intending to end his life before he can complete his destiny – but Morgon still does not know where that destiny is taking him. He has become the central point in a war that began millennia before he was born, and one way or another, it will end with him.
This is the final installment of McKillip’s Riddle-Master trilogy, which I’ve been reading consecutively in an omnibus edition, and I think that was probably the best way to experience this series. Individually the books are that particular type of poignantly, poetically dissatisfying that McKillip does very well. I would not have liked the ending of Harpist in the Wind as much when I was younger (as I said, poignant and poetic!) but it suits the characters perfectly, and is a fitting conclusion for this rather unusual high fantasy series.