I need the name of a book that I read in the 80s. Here is what I remember:
- It starts on a spaceship where a young boy is being sent back to his family after failing magic school.
- He failed because he used a flame spell in response to an animal attacking him as a final test. He had been instructed to respond silently and without drawing notice to himself.
- Kids that fail are sent back with their memory erased of the time they were being trained to use magic (but something went wrong with him).
- He is recruited into a rebellion on the ship.
- The rebellion is led by a woman who does not use magic, but is so focused as a martial artist she can stand up to the magic users.
- I think her name or title was "Nin" or "The Nin".
- Toward the end of the book the boy uses his magic / mind powers to hide an underground base by shielding the persons/aliens higher thoughts and letting through only lower concerns (such as hunger, sexual desire, etc.). This makes it appear as an animal habitat.
Any ideas? I've looked forever. Thanks.