Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Chant, Joy

Pseudonym of UK writer Eileen Joyce Rutter (1945-    ). Her first novel was Red Moon and Black Mountain (1970). Though clearly a Children's Fantasy, this is practically the paradigmatic Genre Fantasy, featuring three Companion children recruited by a Liminal Being through a Portal to an Otherworld threatened by Wrongness; each of the three is the right tool for one part of the plan to oppose the Dark God, and each undergoes a Night Journey. The protagonists do not, ultimately, pay a heavy price for their learning experience; we get instead a near "was it a dream?" ending. The tale owes much to J R R Tolkien and a bit to C S Lewis's Narnia sequence, and its use of Magic is rather conventional; but the intense sense of place and the portrait of the horse-riding Harani (of which the oldest of the children is the Hidden Monarch), as well as a fine high Diction, set it apart from the slightly later and much more slavish imitators of Tolkien.

The Grey Mane of Morning (1977), a stronger and entirely more original work, returns to the first novel's half-Native American and half-Cossack steppe culture; it portrays the folkways of the Harani with deep love and unswerving conviction.

As if to answer feminist critiques of her work, JC's When Voiha Wakes (1983) presents a female-dominant culture; but it is the male artist who gets to escape the strictures of his society. This is a slighter work than its predecessors. [DK]

other works: The High Kings (1983), retelling various tales from the Matter of Britain.

Eileen Joyce Rutter


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.