Gr 6-9-- Aboriginal Mrs. Willet, a Clever Woman journeying to the bush to renew the power of the sacred sites of her people, discovers her next-door neighbor, 14-year-old Jo, hiding in the back of the car. Ignoring her fears, she allows the rebellious and disrespectful girl to accompany her. Jo repeatedly breaks her promises to remain safely in camp, instead exploring dangerous rocky areas and meeting two brothers camped nearby. When Jo allows herself to become distracted by a ride on their motorcycle, the child of other campers for whom she is baby-sitting almost dies at the hands of Balyet, a playfully mischievous yet dangerous ancient spirit. According to an Aboriginal legend first recorded in the 1880s, Balyet was condemned to wander forever, not even accepted by Death, for breaking an ancient law of falling in love with blood brothers. It is Jo's pity for the restless spirit which places Jo in mortal danger. In a tense conclusion which is not part of the original legend, Mrs. Willet, calling on the power of her elders, manages to lay Balyet to rest. Although no character other than Granny Willet is well-developed, perceptive readers who can appreciate Wrightson's fluid use of language and her ability to create an other-worldly, haunting landscape will come away enriched by a novel that permits a glimpse into an alternate reality. Wrightson is to be commended for her uncanny ability to combine ancient Aboriginal legend with modern-day characters to create a riveting and suspenseful whole. --Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, Conn.