a wonderful fantasy novel by Robin McKinley, who also wrote The Blue Sword and The Hero And The Crown, one of the relatively rare coming-of-age novels about a woman. Lissar, who later becomes known as Deerskin, and her fleethound Ash must leave their home and their country and find new lives and identities for themselves. While this book does focus on a woman and part of the story has romantic overtones, this is *not* a romance novel, nor is it solely for women. It is just a good fantasy novel on its own merits, regardless of focus and subject matter. It is a powerful book--no one i know, male or female who has read it has remained unmoved by it, and most women find it in some way rings true in their own searches for their own identities their own lives.