What is a cwidder? You might be wondering just that. It’s a lute-like musical instrument, one that young Moril, full name Osfameron Tanamoril Clennenson (yes, really), plays with his family in a sort of traveling band. His siblings Brid and Dagner (short forms of their equally long names), his father Clennen and mother Lenina wander through Dalemark, singing, passing news from one village to another, sending personal messages, accepting passengers.
Things are a bit unstable in Dalemark, the North and South, and the musicians are among the very few traveling the paths these days. And when they take in a new passenger, a young fellow names Kialan, things begin to go wrong, Moril learns that his father has been keeping a very important secret.
Moril is such a great character, especially for those within the intended, (far younger than me) age group. He’s young and unsure of himself, but also obviously destined for greater things. Moril is a product of the North and the South. His mother was a Southern aristocrat, his father from the North. Jones also writes a great relationship among the siblings.
It’s a story about growing up and coming to terms with one’s situation, here, Moril and his family and his father’s background. And figuring out how to deal with his new place in the world.
Jones leaves me wanting to know more about Dalemark. It is the first published book but is chronologically the third in the series. And so I will be checking out the rest of the books in this quartet (here, sorted by publication date but with the internal chronology in brackets).
Cart and Cwidder, 1975 (3)
Drowned Ammet, 1977 (2)
The Spellcoats, 1979 (1)
The Crown of Dalemark, 1993 (4)