Guy Kay’s first contemporary fantasy is a tour de force—and his bestselling novel ever. Fifteen-year-old Ned Marriner accompanies his photographer father to Provence, where he is shooting images for a glossy coffee-table book. As Ned strolls along roads walked by Celtic tribes and Roman legions, he discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods and cell phones. On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and friends are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous,mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.
Kay (The Last Light of the Sun) departs from his usual historical fantasies to connect the ancient, violent history of France to the present day in this entrancing contemporary fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Canadian Ned Marriner accompanies his famous photographer father, Edward, on a shoot at Aix-en-Provence's Saint-Saveur Cathedral while his physician mother, Meghan, braves the civil war zone in Sudan with Doctors Without Borders. As Ned explores the old cathedral, he meets Kate Wenger, a geeky but attractive American girl who's a walking encyclopedia of history. In the ancient baptistry, the pair are surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters both ancient and modern will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers.