Contemporary fairies-among-us yarn; screenwriter and film critic Cargill’s debut.
Baby Ewan Thatcher, abducted by fairies and taken to live in the Limestone Kingdom, a magic realm outside Austin, Texas, has little idea who he really is and no idea at all why the fairies grabbed him. Young Colby Stephens, meanwhile, meets Yashar the djinni and obtains the usual three wishes, the most important of which is that Yashar make him a wizard. Yashar doesn’t tell Colby that he’s under a curse such that all the wishes he grants come to bad ends. The changeling left in place of Ewan, a repulsive and viciously vindictive creature named Knocks, causes Ewan’s parents to kill themselves. Later, in fairyland, Knocks hatches unpleasant schemes to injure or kill Ewan, particularly after Ewan unwittingly steals Mallaidh, the fairy girl Knocks erroneously believes to be his. On the day Ewan is assured he will become a fairy, Colby and Yashar are on hand, and when they understand the fairies’ true intent, they intervene. Ewan is cast out of the Limestone Kingdom and ekes out a living in Austin as a second-rate musician, with only vague memories of his time among the fairies. But this is just the beginning of a relationship that continues over the years—it’s not possible to enlarge further without giving the game away—involving Austin, all manner of strange fairy creatures, hard-drinking fallen angels, Ewan’s parents, Coyote the trickster god and hell itself. Exceptional worldbuilding, sure-handed plotting and well-rounded characters, even the nasty ones, abound, and the whole impressive enterprise moves smartly along through a fairy culture with a structure and motivations sharply different from that of humans.
A mesmerizing and highly original debut.