Sheri Tepper's World of the True Game
Sheri Tepper wrote a set of nine books set in the land of the True
Game. They are grouped into three sets of three.
These were Sheri Tepper's first published books. We are introduced to
the land of the True Game through the eyes of Peter, a boy of fifteen,
growing up in King Mertyn's house in Schooltown, where he learns of the
Talents of gamesmen and the rules of gaming while he waits for his own
Talent to manifest. Forced to leave, he acquires - and learns to use -
the Gamesmen of Barish, and thwarts the evil plots of Mandor and the
High King, the Magicians and their Gifters, and Huld the Demon, as he
grows into his inherited power of Shifting.
This series is the most straightforward sequence of "adventures": as
Peter grows into power, we learn more and more about how the world works
and see the plots of evil-doers thwarted.
Sheri Tepper's second series explores the life of Mavin Manyshaped,
Peter's mother, from the time she manifests her Talent as a
fifteen-year old in Danderbat Keep up until her pregnancy with Peter,
twenty years later. This series reveals the early history of many
characters from the Peter series - Mavin, the Wizard Himmagery, Huld -
shows historical events alluded to elsewhere - the overthrow of
Blourbast the Ghoul - and reveals new aspects of the world - shadowfolk,
eesties, the shadow tower, and the ancient roads. Mavin is the most
talented and resourceful of all Shifters since Thandbar.
This series fills in the history of characters seen in the first series
and reveals aspects of the bigger plot developing in the world. In spite
of that, Mavin's does what she does because of her own focused needs;
her adventures are those of a strong and independent person, not merely
those of an pawn in a larger story.
Sheri Tepper's third trilogy features Jinian, who appears in the third
Peter book and becomes his companion. This series shows Jinian's early
growth into the "wise-art" - Wizardry. It briefly recaps the portion of
the Peter books that include Jinian from Jinian's perspective - which
reveal that not everything was as Peter thought it had been - and
carries on from there. I like Jinian the best of the three lead
characters; unlike the others, she seems the most human since her Talent
does not provide a flashy solution to all difficulties. She is wise and
This series brings the big plot to its ultimate climax and leaves the
world forever changed. Sheri Tepper also begins to find her voice as an
environmental and feminist author; this is no longer just about
adventures in an unusual setting, but has an agenda.