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Gingema's Daughter (The

Sukhinov, Sergei
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Misuno, Mikhail
Armada Press

The first volume of THE EMERALD CITY: Many years ago, in France, there lived a witch named Gingema. She attempts to trick the King of France into marriage, but she is exposed and banished in disgrace. Detesting all mankind, Gingema decides to destroy all the people on earth. To do that, she needs to procure the magic books of the great wizard Torn ("Hurricap" in Volkov), who had created Magic Land long ago in the center of North America, in Kansas.

Flying to Torn's Domain, Gingema unexpectedly encounters her sister-witch Bastinda and the two sorceresses of Light, Villina and Stella. They divide up Torn's Domain among themselves, with Gingema receiving Blue Land.

Years pass. A little Munchkin girl, Corina, shows up at Gingema's cavern. She has walked out on her parents, and Gingema becomes her adoptive mother. Gingema attempts to instruct Corina in magic, but the girl proves to be very lazy. Exasperated, Gingema enchants the girl so that henceforth she will age ten times more slowly than the other Munchkins.

Quarreling with Gingema years later when she learns about this, Corina and her friend, Nark the wolf, leave her and set out on a long period of life on the move. Years pass, and Corina ages slowly. Then when Gingema is destroyed, crushed by Ellie's house, Corina returns to her cavern, and there she finds the first of Torn's magical books. The girl continues her life on the move, not staying in one place long enough for people to notice her lack of growth. All the while, she studies magic in earnest. Eventually, seeing that she is now a young woman, she sets off on a dangerous journey along the Yellow Brick Road. She is seeking the village of Pinecroft, the Iron Woodman's home town, as the first step in her plan to take over as Queen of Magic Land. Corina meets a clever and perfidious Ogre named Midgety (Ludushka), son of the Ogre who had been killed by the Iron Woodman, and then she visits the Phantom Forest, where Pinecroft is now situated. With difficulty she gets through the Infinite Wall and finds Vesa, the Woodman's former fiancee, now an old woman. She pretends to be Vesa's daughter Langa, who had been abducted years before by forces of evil, and Vesa, duped, writes a letter of introduction for her. Then Corina meets a mighty black dragon named Varag. From this dragon she learns that directly under Magic Land lies an underground country ruled by the mighty warlock Pakir, Lord of Darkness.

A thousand years before, Pakir had lost a battle against Torn, and had been banished deep underground. There is only one place where underground monsters have passage to the surface, in a gorge near the World-Encompassing Mountains. But that gorge is guarded by Torn's servants, the Black Dragons, led by Varag.

Clever Corina promises to help Varag in the struggle against Pakir, who is trying to overcome Torn's spell and return to and conquer the surface, and Varag in turn agrees to help her take over as ruler of Magic Land. Corina and Varag like one another. Corina, unlike Gingema, can perform good as well as evil. Never before had there been any other such magician in Torn's Domain.

They get out past the Infinite Wall, and Corina proceeds to Violet Land ( Winkie Land), where she easily deceives the ingenuous Iron Woodman, again passing herself off as Langa. She clandestinely replaces his silk heart with a stone, and as a result, the Woodman becomes evil and strict.

In the former bedchamber of Bastinda, Corina finds Torn's second book, thereby becoming the most powerful sorceress in the world. She begins by making herself ruler of Violet Land, and then she drives Strasheela (the Scarecrow) from the Emerald City and proclaims herself Queen of Green Land. (First she must take care of a metal giant named Drom, who had recently appeared out of nowhere and quickly become close friends with Strasheela.) The citizens of Green Land (who are called the "Arzals") both fear her and love her. None of the people know what to expect from her, good or evil.

Of all the people on earth, Corina hates Ellie most of all, because Ellie had been involved in the destruction of her adoptive mother, Gingema. Corina sometimes transforms herself into an old witch and flies to Kansas. She wants to kill Ellie, but the latter had left her parents' house a long time ago. Out of spite, Corina conjures up a tornado that kills Ellie's parents and transforms that part of Kansas, formerly fruitful, into a parched prairie.

Many years pass. Then one night Corina, ruler of the Emerald City, awakes full of fear. She realizes that Ellie has returned to Kansas.

Synopsis courtesy of Peter Blystone

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