by Diana Wynne Jones
New York : Greenwillow Books, c1994.
All is not well at Hexwood Farm, and Sector Controller Boranus is not happy. The Reigners won't be happy if they realize some underling awoke the Bannus, a machine that can create theta space and cause real people to go through somewhat manufactured events in order to see the best course of action. Meanwhile, on Earth, Ann Stavely has been sick and, the first day she feels better, she enters a wood where she meets Mordion, a strange man who says he has been in stasis for years and Hume, a boy she seems to have some responsibility for. But odd things seem to be happening with time and the sequence of events when she goes in the wood...
If that sounds confusing, well, let's just say this is the sort of complex story that doesn't sound at all right when I try to sum it up without spoilers. Ignore the awful cover art (yes, that really is the book I own). This story has a little bit of everything: complex storyline, sympathetic characters, and a dash of humor. I've been making my way through Diana Wynne Jones' oeuvre, and thought I'd found my favorites already (Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm, in case you're wondering), but Hexwood surprised me by turning out to be one of the best.