The Questing Road
by Lyn McConchie
Cover Artist: Dan Dos Santos
Review by Lucy Schmeidler
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765322111
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Questing Road is the story of two groups of people who ride unknowing through portals between two universes, neither of them ours, and have some fun adventures, some heroic adventures, and some harrowing adventures before being returned to their original universe. Lyn McConchie has previously co-authored four Witch World novels with Andre Norton, making her an old hand at heroic fantasy, even though this is her first solo novel in the genre.
Kyrryl, her husband, Yoros, and Yoros' niece, Ashara, set out to find a child who had been kidnapped, and don't notice at first when the trail takes them through a portal into another world. Meanwhile, Eilish and Trasso, with Eilish's brother Sirado, are off on a light-hearted vacation ride, and similarly wander through a portal into the same world. The two parties, each visited by a cat goddess who gives them the ability to understand and speak the language of this unfamiliar land, meet and decide to travel together. They soon join up with a local merchant couple, Anatiah and Kaitlen, who are harboring Aycharna, a young woman who had been illegally enslaved and then escaped from the slavers' caravan.
Working together our heroes rescue the child, restore Aycharna to her family, discredit the slavers, and return to their respective homes.
Cat lovers may well appreciate that each of the universes has, in addition to normal humans, a race of people with catlike characteristics. And Eilish is accompanied by a true cat of unusual size and intelligence.
I was a bit uncomfortable with the lack of soul-searching required for the various protagonists to decide what to do; at each decision point there seemed to be only one recognized moral--and goddess-sanctioned--choice, so any hesitation was caused by reluctance to commit but not by any uncertainty over how to proceed. My favorite passage is the one where Kyrryl and Yoros worry about whether they should have risked Ashara's welfare on this trip, while Ashara is worrying about the strain the trip is having on her aunt and uncle, who, in their thirties, are no longer so young.
This book provides a great adventure for readers who like travel between worlds, quests, cats, defeat of evil, and combinations thereof.