A knight goes in quest of the non-existent throme of the Erril of Sherill since the king will not allow his daughter to marry without it.
Both stories possess similar themes. In the first, Magnus Thrall, "the dark king of Everywhere" is a bitter, dissatisfied man because he does not own the one thing he wants--the haunting, beautiful Throme written by the Erril of Sherril--and in his dissatisfaction he allows no happiness to those around him, not his daughter Damsen, not his favored Cnite Caerles who loves Damsen. When he sends Caerles on a quest to bring him back the mythical Throme, it is a quest doomed to failure--and even if it succeeds, will Magnus Thrall prosper from it? The second story takes place on a frozen island known as Hoarsbreath, where gold is mined deep in the icy heart of the mountain. When Peka Krao, a miner's daughter, discovers Ryd Yarrow the Dragon-Harrower in her mountain, she also learns that he plans to root out the dragon that coils sleeping around Hoarsbreath. To do so would be to destroy all that Hoarsbreath is--dark, cold, secret, grudging with its gold and stark in its beauty--but who will be hurt more if Ryd succeeds?
These are not easy questions to answer, and Patricia McKillip presents them honestly. Of course, with the honesty she also offers a wealth of sumptuous, vivid language, rich imagery, humor, and everything else you might expect in a good story. Your expectations will not be disappointed here. Disregard the "kid's cover"! Read the book!
The cover to this edition looks like something you'd find on a children's book. And some may classify this as exactly that, but hidden beneath these magical worlds lies a much darker, adult theme. Once again, Mckillips perfectionist's use of symbols and metaphore depicts the struggles of man against his ancient enemy, himself. All the while, the reader is transported in worlds of utmost beauty and realism that I could smell the wood fires and taste the wormspoor deep in the caverns of snowy Hoarsbreath. And by the end of each tale I felt a new man. Older, perhaps, or just a little less ignorant. Patricia Mckillip has a way of doing that with nearly all of her works.
So, if by chance you run into a copy of this novel don't let the "Magic Quest" emblem along the top scare you away. These are not your average, run-of-the-mill children's stories. But then again, when was ANYTHING written by Mckillip "run-of-the-mill"? Highly Recommended!!