The third in Holdstock's Mythago Wood series about a primeval woodland that generates ""mythagos"" -- living manifestations of figures out of myth and legend -- from the psyches of those who enter it. Richard Bradley's son, Alex, is suddenly struck catatonic. Before long, Alex disappears from his hospital bed and is given up for dead. Several years later, a strange woman comes to Richard: She claims to have found Alex, but she needs Richard's help to bring him back. Richard begins a bizarre odyssey, joining Helen Silverlock and her group of adventurers in the wood, encountering various figures out of legend (none of whom are as pleasant or purely heroic as their stories tell), and battling horrors produced by Alex's frightened mind. Holdstock restores the terror and allure to myths, and he exposes the ""truth"" behind well-known stories -- their violence and barbarity -- without any revisionist moralizing. The novel only begins to go wrong toward the end, as Holdstock tries to resolve too many of the supporting characters' quests, but this effort avoids the heavy-handed symbolism that occasionally marred its predecessors. Holdstock evokes all the wonder and human significance of the myths from which he borrows -- this is surely one of the best fantasy novels of the year.