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

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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.