My search for this was long because it is out of print but for those who know about it, there is deserved hype. It continues to boggle me that Dorothy Gilman is famous for "Mrs. Pollifax", collected but not yet read; because her less-known segues as fantastic! I'm sorry the masterful author died this year, 2012. There is a biography I must have and her foray into young adult fantasy is extremely well done. "The Maze In The Heart Of The Castle", 1983 was a fictitious book within "The Tightrope Walker", 1979. Dorothy clearly decided to compose it for real.
It's been called metaphoric / symbolic but is a very well established story with distinct people and countries. A teenager grieves his parents. He believes a `no-turning-back' journey through a scarcely whispered about maze, is the only place with answers and relief. Most fans enjoy this as children and adults, noticing something different every time. I store mine at hand in case of emergency. It is that memorable. I have only two critiques. The cage is awful for youths. Brief brutality, or captivity with respite, might pass. Confinement without room to extend a leg for months, eating only what peasants throw; is too much.
Also there's no information about what's next, if Colin reaches the impenetrable wizard city `Galt'. Otherwise the adventure is intelligent and exciting. I've withheld reviewing this novel more than any other, as if taking my time would do it justice. A scene in the first phase is disturbing and striking. Entering the maze, Colin finds people resigned to living there. Acceptance is valiant but he is incredulous they don't strive harder. As dynamic as famous fantasy: I savoured an all-out battle, magic, thinking on your feet, a season of snow, and plenty of hiding and escapes.