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Orrec is the son of the Brantor of Caspromant; Gry the daughter of the Brantors of Barre and Rodd. They have grown up together in neighbouring domains, running half-wild across the Uplands. The people of the domains are like their land: harsh and fierce and prideful; ever at war with each other, raiding cattle, capturing serfs, enlarging their holdings.

It is only the gifts that keep a fragile peace.

The gifts are powers, running from father to son and from mother to daughter. The Barre can call animals. The women of Cordemant can blind or make deaf, or take away speech. Brantor Ogge of Drummant has the gift of slow wasting. But the Caspro gift is both best and worst: it is the gift of undoing.

Gry's gift runs true, but she will not use it to call animals for the hunt. Orrec too has a problem, for his gift of undoing is wild: he cannot control it - and that is the most dangerous gift of all...

Gifts is Ursula Le Guin at her best: an exciting, moving story beautifully told.

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fantasy / fiction / international / SF by women / Ursula K. Le Guin /