is the second book from up-and-coming author Patrick O'Leary, and is quite a departure from his wonderful and zany first novel, Door Number Three
. The Gift
is largely a dark fantasy novel, focusing on a world where magic and storytelling hold sway, although there are some distinctive science fiction overtones. The protagonists are a young king named Simon, who has lost his hearing, and a young woodcutter named Tim, who has lost his family. Both are on a similar quest: they're attempting to find and destroy The Usher of Night, a twisted sorcerer who has unleashed an ancient evil, and who has caused both men great suffering. Although the quest might make this novel sound like a conventional fantasy, it's anything but. O'Leary clearly shows that he enjoys bending genre boundaries as much as he enjoys telling a good story.
From Library Journal
O'Leary made a widely praised sf debut with his first novel, Door Number Three (LJ 9/15/95). Here he weaves a magical tale about the Usher of the Night, a deaf boy king, and Tim, the woodcutter's son, who becomes the Wind Tamer. In a land where most magic has been forgotten, only Mother Death can vanquish the Usher of the Night, with help from the Wind Tamer. O'Leary cleverly embeds tales within tales as he layers and intersects his story lines. For larger fantasy collections.
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