Thanks to Tantor Media for giving us a wonderful audio edition of The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs’ short classic fantasy novel which was first published in 1969. It’s performed by Eric Michael Summerer and is 5 hours long.
Prospero is a small-time wizard who lives in a small kingdom. Lately he’s been noticing some odd occurrences around his house and starts to suspect that something sinister is going on.
When his studious and adventurous friend Roger Bacon (also a wizard) arrives for a visit, the two friends decide to investigate. They suspect that an evil wizard may be stalking them. To get off Prospero’s property without being seen by the evil wizard’s minions, they shrink themselves and escape down the stream on a toy boat.
After a few misadventures and some disoriented meandering, they finally manage to confront their enemy.
Prospero and Bacon are smart, curious, and eccentric. I especially loved Bacon, a man who is constantly observing, measuring, and investigating the things around him. The two friends are amusing, as are some of the plot elements such as the singing mirror.
The novel’s humor nicely balances out its horror elements which mostly involve frightening illusions cast by the evil magician, and the sinister feel of an encroaching magical winter.
The style of The Face in the Frost is notably reminiscent of Tolkien’s high fantasy. The story is simple and short, but it’s also lovely and charming.
If you’d like to read The Face in the Frost, give Tantor Audio’s new edition a try. It’s excellent.