A 15-year-old recruit becomes the newest faerie-fighter in Ireland in the first of a series, Lennon’s debut.
After the imprisonment of his parents, curators at the National Museum of Ireland wrongfully accused of stealing the Bog Man by shady art dealer Lord Desmond Dooley, young Ronan Boyle is taken in by a sympathetic member of the Galway garda as an intern in the evidence department. Being skinny, Boyle is summoned to a castle ruin to rescue a changeling baby that a leprechaun has thrown down an oubliette. His success leads to his recruitment by the Garda Special Unit of Tir Na Nog, the Irish land of faeries. After a required course of study that includes tin whistle, he embarks on a series of adventures that eventually point in the general direction of the Bog Man and his parents’ fate. They don’t arrive there, but they’re heading that way, and it’s the vagueness of Boyle’s quest and the plot as a whole that are the novel’s primary weaknesses. Dry Irish humor and relentless wackiness are its primary strengths; with lines like “Pat Finch is what a heart attack would look like if it could walk around eating fish-and-chips and saying terrible things about Roscommon Football Club’s starting lineup,” the joy is in the journey, not the destination. The cast is default white, with diversity mostly of the nonhuman variety.
As flavorful as the strongest Irish stout, though equally an acquired taste. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)