Like the middle book of many trilogies, The Wandering Fire has so much going on in it that it is hard to describe. It of course is meant to continue the plot of The Summer Tree, the first book of Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry, and leave us with a cliffhanger before the final book.
In the first book, a mage brought five university students to Fionavar, where they were separated to fulfill their various roles. The five friends returned to their own world at the end of the book to rescue Jennifer from the hands of the Unraveller. The fact that they could have done this any time after she was kidnapped, fairly early in the previous book, and saved her from being raped and tortured seems to have escaped everyone.
Most of them return to Fionavar when Jennifer is near term with a child who will be half man, half god. Kim stays behind to wake up Arthur Pendragon and bring him along. Of course, Jennifer turns out to be an incarnation of Guinivere.
I think the Arthur and Guinivere subplot was where the book pretty much lost me. I know this novel is a mishmash of just about every Celtic myth, but King Arthur? Really? Could we not get more original than this? I think this plot is where the novel really shows its roots in the early 1980’s. It also seems to have been written by a very young man, although Kay was in his early 30’s when it was published. Again, as I mentioned in my previous review, the characters are not well developed, and the men particularly seem immature.