In the Old Country, they called them the Gentry: ancient spirits of the land, magical, amoral, and dangerous. When the Irish emigrated to North America, some of the Gentry followed...only to find that the New World already had spirits of its own, called manitou and other such names by the Native tribes.
Now generations have passed, and the Irish have made homes in the new land, but the Gentry still wander homeless on the city streets. Gathering in the city shadows, they bide their time and dream of power. As their dreams grow harder, darker, fiercer, so do the Gentry themselves--appearing, to those with the sight to see them, as hard and dangerous men, invariably dressed in black.
Bettina can see the Gentry, and knows them for what they are. Part Indian, part Mexican, she was raised by her grandmother to understand the spirit world. Now she lives in Kellygnow, a massive old house run as an arts colony on the outskirts of Newford, a world away from the Southwestern desert of her youth. Outsider her nighttime window, she often spies the dark men, squatting in the snow, smoking, brooding, waiting. She calls them los lobos, the wolves, and stays clear of them--until the night one follows her to the woods, and takes her hand....
Ellie, an independent young sculptor, is another with magic in her blood, but she refuses to believe it, even though she, too, sees the dark men. A strange old woman has summoned Ellie to Kellygnow to create a mask for her based on an ancient Celtic artifact. It is the mask of the mythic Summer King--another thing Ellie does not believe in. Yet lack of belief won't dim the power of the mast, or its dreadful intent.
Donal, Ellie's former lover, comes from an Irish family and knows the truth at the heart of the old myths. He thinks he can use the mask and the "hard men" for his own purposes. And Donal's sister, Miki, a punk accordion player, stands on the other side of the Gentry's battle with the Native spirits of the land. She knows that more than her brother's soul is at stake. All of Newford is threatened, human and mythic beings alike.
Once again Charles de Lint weaves the mythic traditions of many cultures into a seamless cloth, bringing folklore, music, and unforgettable characters to life on modern city streets.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Irish fairies, Native American shape-changers and Africa's Anansi the Spider all meet up as de Lint (The Buffalo Man) weaves a new tale of urban magic, in which a diverse cast of characters learns that all the oldest myths are true. This comes as no surprise to Bettina San Miguel (a Mexican-Indian healer whose power comes from her father, a hawk-spirit), or to Tommy Raven (whose aunts back on the reservation were in regular contact with the spirit world). But Hunter Cole and Ellie Jones, who have never believed in anything supernatural, are shocked to learn that Ellie has enormous magical powers. Conversely, for Miki Greer, the revelation is a horrible confirmation of her Irish father's angry rantings--and a dangerous portent for her brother, Donal, who is involved with the violent "hard men" (displaced Irish spirits, also known as the Gentry and los lobos, looking for a home in America). The "hard men" want to summon a Green Man to fight the native spirits--and they want to use Donal's body to help them do it. Suddenly, the fictional city of Newford is crawling with magic--some hostile, some strangely appealing. And Bettina, Tommy, Hunter and Ellie must stop Donal before it's too late. A leisurely, intriguing expedition into the spirit world, studded with Spanish and Gaelic words and an impressive depth of imagination, de Lint's latest teems with music, danger and a touch of romance.