There was a book I read in the 1980's, a Science Fiction/Fantasy paperback where a phoenix bird lived in a garden, ate jewels like rubies and emeralds. A sorcerer or wizard was one of the characters and there was some kind of garden where the 'lost color' bloomed in a flower. I loved that story but cannot remember the title or author.

There was some kind of magical quest, a young man and woman in a potential romantic relationship. The book was less than 300 pages, the cover may have been tan or beige with a painting/drawing of a castle or map which included a picture of a castle, garden. I know I bought it at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was not a series or a trilogy, just a one-off.

There was also wry, dry humor in it, making me think the author was British.

  • Makes me think of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, but it's been since the 80s that I read it so I don't remember a lot of details.
    – eshier
    Nov 28, 2018 at 16:06
  • that does ring a bell, maybe one of the Xanth books by Piers Anthony?
    – mgh42
    Nov 29, 2018 at 5:53

1 Answer 1


This might be Kesrick by Lin Carter. It was published in 1982 so the time frame matches, though none of the covers match your description.

Sir Kesrick of Dragonrouge enters the strange world of Terra Magica in search of the stolen pommel stone of the sword Dastagard and has many adventures.

The phoenix who eats rubies is mentioned when our hero is dining with the sorcerer:

"I remember this Zazamanc well," the phoenix remarked. She had not bothered to join them in their meal, but dined from her customary duet of crushed rubies, served in a golen cup affixed to her perch, which the sorcerer had companionably drawn up to the table.

The reference to the flowers and the lost colour is:

Flowers bloomed as well in Pteron's garden. Their strange, soft petals were of tingaribinus, the Lost Color.

This is a really hard book to track down. I own a fair few Lin Carter books¹ but not this one, and online sources for it are few and far between. It is on Google Books here, and it's from this source I've drawn the quotes above.

¹ Thongor! They don't write books like that these days! ²

² Just as well some might say

  • 1
    This is it. My hero! Many Thanks.
    – ryan
    Nov 29, 2018 at 18:13

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