Moon of Three Rings (Moon Magic, #1)

PDF-file by Andre Norton

Moon of Three Rings (Moon Magic, #1) PDF ebook download This is my third time reading this book (January 2014). I first read it, probably way back in high school, and I remembered that I loved the story. But I couldn't remember the details, except that someone was turned from a man to a beast, so I have typed the details here to help me remember the story in the future. The writing is almost lyrical, and the action is fast-paced. Still as wonderful as I remembered it.
"I spin from world to world because it is a way of life to which I have been born and bred. I know of none different."
This way of life was to bring Krip Vorlund, a Free Trader, to a planet called Yiktor at the time of the Moon of the Three Rings. The Three Rings meant power for those few of Yiktor who possessed it (the Moon Singers of the Thassa). Maelen, the trainer of almost sentient animals, had this power. On visiting her animal show at the Yrjar fair, Krip and his ship mate are shown around backstage, when Maelen receives word of a mistreated animal. Krip asks to accompany her when she goes to the rescue and she agrees. On freeing the animal, a wolf-like barsk, they are confronted by the abuser, who is about to cause Maelen harm, when Krip stuns him with his stunner and they get away. When some priests come to take Krip to a tribunal hearing for his actions, he is kidnapped instead, and taken to a fort held by Osokun, son of Oskald. Osokun is in league with off-world Combine traders, hoping to gain more power for himself by learning from Krip about off-world weapons. Osokun holds him in a prison and tortures him, but gets no answers from him. Eventually Krip escapes, but is much weakened. Maelen had heard of what happened to him, and has been looking for him, and actually helped ease his escape with her powers. When she finds him, she is afraid that Osokun and his men will find them and kill Krip. She offers him a solution: let her transfer his spirit into the body of the wolfish barsk, who is half-mad anyway, and transfer the barsk spirit into Krip's body. Then, because Krip will appear insane, she hopes that Osokun's people will take him to the Valley where priests care for insane people. (Terrible things supposedly happen to those who mistreat or kill insane people). They head for the Valley in hopes of re-uniting Krip with his own body, only to find out that Osokun's people took Krip's body back to the spaceport, hopefully to ransom it. (That didn't work out either & Osokun's little rebellion was crushed). Unknown to Krip, his ship takes off with his body; also the captain plans to report to the space Patrol the illegal activities on Yiktor. Krip takes off from the Valley on his own, hoping to get to the spaceport and try to convince someone that he, in the wolf body, was actually Krip. Instead, he meets up by chance with Maelen's partner, Malek, who has brought their vans and animals out of Yrjar, the town where the fair is held. But Osokun's men, burdened with an injured Osokun, attack the vans and kill Malek and several of the animals. The rest of the animals and Krip warn Maelen about the raid as she approaches, and then they join forces to kill the marauders; afterwards, Krip goes after the three escapees. Although he does kill all three, he does so at great cost to himself as one stabs him horribly in the neck. He manages to get back to the vans and Maelen does her best to keep him alive. Back they head for the Valley, where Maelen hopes to transfer Krip back into a human body, specifically Maquad, Maelen's insane brother-in-law. But when they arrive, they find that the Valley has also fallen victim to raiders, though the priests still live as does Maquad. The transfer is accomplished and Krip now resides in Maquad's body. Shortly afterwards, all the Thassa are called to a council meeting in a hidden lake bed. There they find out that there are rebels who are trying to kidnap Maelen, as they blame her for many things. Maelen and her sister Merlay swap bodies, so that Maelen can escort Krip/Maquad back to the spaceport in disguise (which will last 4 days only). At the spaceport, they learn that Krip's body had died while on board his spaceship. They race back to meet up with the other Thassa, as Maelen/Merlay's power fades, only to find that Merlay/Maelen has been taken by the rebels. Merlay and Maelen automatically change places again when the four days are up. So Merlay, Krip, and other Thassa mount a rescue party for Maelen and succeed. But Maelen is dying. Although the third ring is fading, one of the Thassa, Mathan, saves Maelen by transferring her spirit into one of her small animals, Vors.
Then Krip returns, with Vors as his companion (so the Thassa had ordered), to his ship, convinces Captain Foss of his identity, and leaves Yiktor with his ship.

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