The Phoenix and the Mirror
The Phoenix and the Mirror was published in 1969 and is the first novel in the first Vergil Magus series, written by Avram Davidson. The book, which is set in a fantastic medieval prolongation of the Roman Empire, concerns Vergil's quest to forge a "virgin speculum" (mirror) for the purpose of divination. The construction of such a mirror requires the use of unsmelted copper ore and tin, precipitating a quest to Cyprus, the source of copper in the ancient world. The story also includes a brazen head, which lends its name to Vergil's house.
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