De Haven (Sunburn Lake, Funny Papers, etc.) has done fantasy thymus in almost every one of his books, but here he sets out on a multivolume chronicle involving alternate worlds, sorcerers, and mages--all mixed with the sort of low-rent realism he does so well. A street person, Geebo, who washes windows at intersections for change, turns out really to be a journalist named Peter Musik, who'd been doing an independent investigation of a mind-control drug-lab in New Jersey--until he was found out and chemically rendered amnesiac and helpless. Geebo is befriended by a tramp named Jack--but Jack in fact is a Walker, an emissary of the King of another universe, who must gather elements of this one in order for his kingdom to thrive. Meanwhile, Jack is being hunted by the outlaw Mage of Luck, Mage of Four, just as Peter Musik is being hunted by his drug-scientist pursuers. What makes the mixture here pleasurable is the high quality of the this-world sections, good funny dialogue, and believable yet high. spiritedly cartoonish characters. The alternate-universe stuff is often a little hard to follow, involving the sort of lightning-fast transformations of realms and shapes as they do (though speculative-fiction fans may find a certain lack of density here). But De Haven's novelistic skills stand him in good stead throughout.