Four Winds Press/Macmillan 1985 (out of print)
ISBN: 978-0027883800
Signet/NAL 1987 (out of print)
ISBN: 978-0451147561

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Sixteen-year-old Alexina, estranged from society by her unrealized extrasensory powers, rescues Taryn, a teenager from the parallel world of mindpower, who awakens Alexina’s long-hidden gift. Awed by the discovery of her psychic ability and hoping to belong at last, Alexina eagerly joins Taryn and his companions in their Quest to recover the living Stone, the heart of the mindpower world stolen by a renegade from their universe.

The search leads them deep into the wilderness, to an enchanted palace surrounded by thorns. There the thief waits, a being of incalculable strength who calls to Alexina with a power she cannot deny, and a promise she does not understand.

In the battle that follows, good and evil become indistinguishable, and Alexina learns that friendship does not always guard against betrayal.




A hazardous quest, a mysterious shadow, an enigmatic man and his seemingly enchanted mansion combine to form a thrilling narrative…Readers will find this hard to forget and will demand to know, “What happened next?”
- School Library Journal -

A compelling tale…the open ending not only begs a sequel but also provokes thought about the use and misuse of power.
- Booklist -

Exciting and unique science fiction.
- Eastern Washington Review Council -


Mass market paperback edition


Alexina dreamed.

In her dream, she was enclosed by fog so dense that she could see nothing else. She seemed to be standing in a space just large enough for her body, with billowing pale gray walls. Through the fog something began to glow, a luminous cord that stretched away from where she stood until it became a silvery blur and was lost from view.

Something was approaching, moving toward her along the cord. With certainty, she knew it was him–the dark man, the man whose mind was tied to hers. Terror roared through her and she tried to pull away–but the polarity had reversed at last, and there was nothing she could do. She waited, helpless, aware within her fear of a kind of horrible fascination. Finally, she would see his face.

A shadow appeared, darker than the fog…and then he was before her. The link was no longer a cord but a clear, brilliant light that enclosed them both, touching the fog with silver like cold fire. He was tall and slim, with aquiline features and black hair braided back from his face. His eyes were long and narrow, as black as his hair. They held a look that was neither threatening nor hostile. They were…interested, that was it. He was interested in her.

Greetings, Alexina.

His lips did not move, but his voice was there in her mind–not like the impersonal flow of mindspeech, but exactly as if he had spoken. His smile was like his eyes: Interested, even friendly. There was no threat in it. It struck terror to the bottom of Alexina’s soul.

Don’t be afraid.

Alexina closed her eyes, but this was a dream, and she could still see him. Go away, she thought miserably. Please, please, leave me alone. Oh, why can’t I shut you out?

I couldn’t shut you out. Why should you be able to shut me out?

I’m sorry. I didn’t want to come to you. I didn’t have a choice.

He shook his head. It doesn’t matter how you came, or why. The link makes it inevitable. Somehow, you would have found your way to me.

No. No, I never would.

Alexina, I won’t hurt you. Don’t you know that people who are linked can’t harm one another? What befalls one befalls the other in equal measure. The link is not merely spiritual, it is also physical.

I…I don’t believe you. But she was lying, and by the way his smile widened, she saw he knew it.

There’s much they have not told you, Alexina. I am not like them–I will tell you everything, everything you wish to know. Soon you’ll be where I am. Come to me then, and we will talk.

You’re lying. You only want to trick me.

If I do, do you think the Guardians are any more honest?

Alexina put her hands to her ears as if that could block him out. Soon we’ll find you. They’ll defeat you.


Danish edition

That remains to be seen. He watched her. He was no longer smiling. Remember my invitation. Look to the hedge. You’ll see the way inside.

He paused a moment longer, his dark eyes holding hers. Then he turned and began to recede, a black figure merging with the mist. The link became a silvery cord again, stretching out as he moved away from her, fading until it was only the smallest glimmer in the fog. At last it winked out. The fog closed round, damp and lightless, and suddenly Alexina was awake.

It was mid-afternoon. The sun slanted through the trees in great shafts that seemed almost solid, warm gold to replace the cold silver in which the dark man had been enclosed. Inside the camp all was still, though a restless wind stirred the woods outside the shimmering barrier. The barrier could block air currents and make those within invisible to passersby, but it was no defense against the link.

Alexina shook with the cold of her dream. She felt the hateful link, crouched within her like a living thing, sleeping now but always ready to wake and render her helpless. She put her hands to her throat as if she could grasp the link itself, feeling her pulse beat against her palms. She could still see his smile, his narrow eyes, the face she had both dreaded and desired to see. It was wrong that he should be just a man, unmarked by any obvious evil. He should be old, ugly, branded somehow with whatever terrible thing had driven him to commit his unforgivable crime.

Only a few more days, she thought, breathing deeply to calm herself. It would all be over then. He would be defeated. And the link would be gone forever.


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