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I am trying to remember the title of an 'old' (pre 2000) fantasy novel.

The parts of the story that I remember include (essential ingredients):
1) it involved a staff, with an iron symbol on the shoe of the staff.
2) it starts off in winter.
3) it has as a theme throughout the book ravens or crows, and this might be in the title.

I recall thinking at the time I read it that it was not the usual type of fantasy novel, but persevered and loved it by the end. It was written very much from point of view of the main character, and the difficulty they had with their limited knowledge, they had beeen flung into the deep end and were fighting for their life.

The book starts first chapter with someone struggling with a staff as their only weapon, they don't know what it is and can do, they use it to fend off the crows, and its deep winter.

Magic works circumspectly, we don't get into the inner workings of the magic system used in the world. By the end of the novel the main character had become an accomplished magic user, nothing dramatic or large scale, the whole point of the novel was their struggle to make modest gains. It was very different to most of the fantasy literature of the time which posed massive leaps of power gains once magic is mastered.

I hope this is enough detail, I read the book a very long time ago. I have tried looking up every fantasy novel with crow or raven in the title, with no luck. :(

Main protagonist might be a woman.

  • Could this be A Song of Ice and Fire, a cycle of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin? The first two books are from before 2000. It stars off in winter. It has a theme of crows, so much that the title of the fourth book is A Feast for Crows. – b_jonas Mar 9 '14 at 0:42
  • @b_jonas : thanx but no that do not be it, was much less of a grand tale, more modest in scope. – John Mar 9 '14 at 9:21
  • Do you remember who it was aimed at (i.e. age group)? Nationality (or language)? – Moogle Mar 10 '14 at 11:16
  • Could it be the Knight of the Word series, by Terry Brooks? – JohnP Mar 10 '14 at 15:06
  • Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence sounds similar. In one of them Will Stanton is fighting crows, and one of the Things of Power is made of iron if I remember correctly. – Nathan Mar 10 '14 at 16:02
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Could it possibly be Master of the Grove by Victor Kelleher?

The protagonist is a young boy, who awakens in the snow, not remembering who he is. He has a crutch with a metal foot that leaves an imprint of a star, and is befriended by a crow or raven.

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    still to confirm am ordering the book, no ebook version, but it looks very promising and it rings a bell. – John Mar 15 '15 at 19:49
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Could it be Sorcerers of the Night Wing by Geoffrey Huntingdon?

Devon March has grown up knowing two things: the monsters in the closet are real, and he is stronger than they are. But at fourteen years old, he still doesn’t know why.

Now an orphan, Devon has been sent to live at Ravenscliff Manor with the foreboding Amanda Muir Crandall, her troubled nephew Alexander, and her feisty daughter Cecily. In the dark seaside mansion, plagued by ghosts, Devon learns the answers to at least some of his questions. Namely, his birthright as a sorcerer of the Order of the Nightwing

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    Please explain why you think this is the answer. – Null Nov 14 '14 at 16:39

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