I'm trying to find a fantasy book from my childhood library, about 45 years ago. I distinctly remember a quote from it,

a ring, a stone, a finger bone

describing three talismanic objects. There was mention of spells being "the crucible that held the will of the spellcaster". I think there was also an element of time travel, when the hero (heroine?), realised that the finger bone was actually their own, lost from centuries in the past.

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    – bobble
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Could this be “The Winter Players”, from Companions on the Road by Tanith Lee? Googling the phrase quoted in the question led me to this Google Books result

She could hear instead a priestess, speaking the Ritual in the shrine. It began with one voice, but shortly there were countless voices. She was hearing all the priestesses who had ever served the shrine. She was reaching back, back into the past of the shrine, back to its beginning, to the Relics themselves, which were the source of the shrine's holiness.

A Ring, a Stone,
A Finger-Bone-

Abruptly, she was no longer in the cedar. She was running on a black road in a black mist, and something hopped before her-the Bone.

It's frustratingly difficult to find more detailed information about this book that would prove its match to the question. Wikipedia and Goodreads puts it at a 1977 publish date - exactly 45 years ago. A blurb:

The Ring, The Jewel, The Bone:

These are the Relics. The Mysteries of the Shrine, known only to the priestess. Only to Oaive. Yet he knows of them--the wolflike stranger from beyond the mists. And when he profanes them, there begins a game of cold sorceries and burning shadows to be played through all eternity...one way or another.

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    Isfdb shows a 1976 standalone Macmillan edition, followed by a 1977 St Martin's Press edition also containing "Companions on the Road". The latter is available for loan at the Internet Archive and contains the passages: "The spell is the crucible in which the ore of the magic is formed" (p. 167) "I left by this path once before, or rather, I will leave by this path in the future. Strange to admit I might die today, and yet still I shall live there, centuries ahead of myself" (p. 206) Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 7:20
  • Thanks so much for the response. I think you may be correct. I will check it out. I must say I'm pleasantly surprised by the quick response. Really appreciate it :)
    – 2shortguy
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 3:14

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