Backed by an extensive promo campaign, Feist leaps from epic fantasy (the Riftwar trilogy) to the dark fantastic with a...



Backed by an extensive promo campaign, Feist leaps from epic fantasy (the Riftwar trilogy) to the dark fantastic with a robust and engrossing tale of Irish folk critters on the loose in rural N.Y. Feist offers a classic horror setup as the model Hastings family (top-author Dad; homemaker step-Mom; teen daughter Gabbie; eight-year-old twins Sean and Patrick) settle from California into the isolated Kessler farm. Idyll soon churns into nightmare as a host of creatures from Celtic legend menaces the children. The twins are stalked by ""The Bad Thing""--a pint-sized goblinesque being that ""shudders in dark anticipation"" of causing pain--while Gabble, who's romancing local boy Jack Cole, finds her carnality inflamed by muscular mythic blacksmith Wayland Smith and then violated in a near-rape by the legendary Puck himself. Meanwhile, occult scholar Mark Blackman befriends the family while tracing links between old man Kessler and a breakout of occult mania in 1903 Germany. Oddness multiplies--leprechauns, fairies, and other twinklies appear; the Hastings find a horde of gold on their property--and culminates in the kidnapping of Patrick. it seems, Blackman finally lets on, that this all is, as in 1903, a periodic appearance of the ""Good People""; but the Hastings' finding the gold has broken an ancient pact between humanity and fairies--monitored by an order of Magi, of whom Kesser was one--and made possible a coup d'État in the fairy kingdom--with Patrick a captive of the evil Fool and a pawn in the power struggle. Blackman and Dad rush to save Patrick, but they're beaten to the punch by Sean, who with guidance from an old Irishman sets off on an quest into the fairy lands to save his twin. Too diffuse to grip fully (only Sean's final quest, with its unifying hero and goal, soars) and too weak in its villains really to scare; still, Feist milks his characters and material with energy and flair, creating a believable and memorable fantasy backdrop to doings that always entertain even if they rarely astonish.

Pub Date: March 4, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987

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