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The Book of Atrix Wolfe - Patricia A. McKillip A beautiful fairytale.

Atrix Wolfe is a powerful mage. Years ago, in an attempt to stop a war between two kingdoms, he conjured a terrible Hunter through sorcery... causing more death than, possibly, the war would have. In remorse and shame, he fled to the life of a hermit...

But now, a young prince in mage training has found his spellbook, and old sorceries are stirring.. And, for some reason, the beautiful Faerie Queen of the Wood is sending visions to both a boy and a mage...

Meanwhile, in the castle kitchens, a mute kitchen drudge called Saro labors endlessly over her dirty pots... and sees visions in the washwater...

Remarkable, as always, for the vivid poetics of McKillip's language, and the purity of her vision... Plus, this one has descriptions of the castle feasts that'll have your mouth watering!

I don't think this is McKillip's best book, but it's certainly a very good one.