Central to Alan Garner's offering of spirits and specters is the chapter entitled "The Secret Commonwealth" in which he expands upon his belief in fairies "as real people at war with their neighbors" (to quote from the introduction to another chapter), specifically, in Britain, the early inhabitants displaced by the Celts. Which seems not at all obscurantist or oddball after reading the insidious legends adapted here from not only British but also American Indian, Japanese, Serbian and Norse sources -- to say nothing of the reports of apparitions (including a recent transcription). As Mr. Garner notes in his Notes, he has reworked them in varying degrees; inherently diverse in tone and theme, they retain their individuality of idiom and rhythm. "Hoichi the Earless," from Lafcadio Hearn, tells of a blind balladeer who conjured up graveyard ghosts thinking he was entertaining the Emperor, and the agony of his exorcism; "Yallery Brown," a Lincolnshire legend, demonstrates the danger of heeding the fairy folk ("For harm and mischief and Yallery Brown/ You've let out yourself from under the stone"); "Moowis," one of several Algonquin tales, involves a cruel maiden cruelly mocked. Not to mention the elusive episodic "Trade that No One Knows," of Serbian origin. Or the poems, mostly of recent authorship. If this series can be considered the aristocracy of anthologies, Alan Garner's contribution both maintains the literary standard and extends the base of interest--not only beyond the British Isles but back to beginnings.