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Q: children's fantasy book with a green crystal ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: children's fantasy book with a green crystal
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: whatda-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 08 Oct 2006 23:06 PDT
Expires: 07 Nov 2006 22:06 PST
Question ID: 771883
I'm trying to find a series of books I read as a kid. Here's what I
know and the vague bits I can remember:

- They are children's books for elementary school age kids and up.
(Definitely were shelved in the children's section of my public
- Must have been published before 1980, although I suspect it was
sometime during the 1970s.
- Fantasy fiction. (Along the lines of "The Black Cauldron" series.)
- The story involved magic and wizards (but not sure they called
themselves "wizards").
- The wizards could take the form of other living things (but I'm not
sure they used the term "shape shift" though).
- I think at one point a wizard stayed in the shape of an animal so
long that when he changed back to his human form his hands kept a
shadow image of the hooves or claws or whatever the animal's feet
where like.
- I think a wizard may have even changed into a tree.
- A key element was a green crystal with some kind of magical power. 
- The crystal was shattered and pieces (I think they used the word
"shards") were scattered. I think they were scattered across time as
well as space.
- There was definitely a "grotto" because I remember having to look
that word up in the dictionary.
- And the only other clue I can think of is that I'm pretty sure the
author's name is in the middle of the alphabet because I remember
going to the middle of the fiction section in the children's room of
the library to find these books.

I hope someone can find the author and titles of these books. I'd love
to read them again to see if they are as good as I remember.
Subject: Re: children's fantasy book with a green crystal
Answered By: juggler-ga on 09 Oct 2006 01:04 PDT

It sounds like you're describing the "Children of Ynell" series by
Shirley Rousseau Murphy.

This was a juvenile fastasy series of five books published 1977-81.

The books involve the fight for control of a magic "runestone" (in "shards").

"The heroes and heroines of these novels, such as Thorn and Ramad, use
their visionary, psychic powers to battle evil seers and sorcerers,
dragons and monsters. In the course of their long battle, they ally
themselves with wolves, travel outside of time and fight for control
of the runestone. In order, the novels in this series are The Ring of
Fire; The Wolf Bell; The Castle of Hape; Caves of Fire and Ice; and
The Joining of the Stone. "
source: University of Southern Mississippi library,shirley.htm

A description of the fifth book, "The Joining of the Stone," describes
the runestone as being in "shards."

"Lobon, son of Ramad of the Wolves, helped by the wolves and the Seers
of Carriol, continues his father's struggle to find the shards of the
runestone and unite them for the power of good."

A cover photo features a character with what appears to be the
runestone around his neck, and the runestone appears to have a
greenish color.

And, needless to say, the author's name (Murphy) is consistent with
your memory of a mid-alphabet author.

Used copies of all five books in the series at

search strategy:
alibris: fantasy shards

I hope that this is the series that you had in mind.  If not, please
let me know via the "request clarification" feature, and we'll go back
to the drawing board. Thanks.

Request for Answer Clarification by whatda-ga on 10 Oct 2006 14:14 PDT

These books and this author don't ring a bell at all, but I think
you've found the right books based on all the great details in your
answer. I don't remember anything about love or psychic powers, but it
was a really long time ago and maybe some of the plot went right over
my head as a kid. Boy, does this make me feel old.

I want to give you the top rating for your excellent answer and fast
response, but I'd hate to do that and then find out these aren't the
right books. You already got paid, didn't you? Can I wait to post a
rating (and tip) until after I've read one of the books?

what-da-ga -- a/k/a fantasy fan with a really bad memory

Clarification of Answer by juggler-ga on 10 Oct 2006 17:49 PDT

I completely understand!    Many times, our memories of details of
books fade over time.  I've often returned to books after 20+ years
and found that I've forgotten some major plot points, and, conversely,
things that I remembered turned out to be relatively minor aspects of
the story.  Additionally, when you're talking about a series of books,
some character or plot point that you remember as major sometimes
turns out to have simply appeared in one book out of the series.

The key element in your description would seem to be the central plot
point of a green crystal broken into "shards."  The series mentioned
above seems to match this key element.  Nonetheless, I've done this
long enough to know that, occasionally, different books (often of the
same vintage) feature remarkably similar plots.   Sometimes, you
scratch your head and say, "Two different books shouldn't have been
that much alike, but they are!"  For example:

So, take your time.  Check out the Shirley Rousseau Murphy books and
let me know if they're your books.  If they aren't, we'll go back to
the drawing board and find the right books.
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