Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell. Since they were introduced in the first Newford story, ""Timeskip,"" back in 1989, their friends and readers alike have been waiting for them to realize what everybody else already knows: that they belong together. But they've been more clueless about how they feel for each other than the characters in When Harry Met Sally. Now in Widdershins, a stand-alone novel of fairy courts set in shopping malls and the Bohemian street scene of Newford's Crowsea area, Jilly and Geordie's story is finally being told. Before it's over, we'll find ourselves plunged into the rancorous and sometimes violent conflict between the magical North American ""animal people"" and the more newly-arrived fairy folk. We'll watch as Jilly is held captive in a sinister world based on her own worst memories--and Geordie, attempting to help, is sent someplace even worse. And we'll be captivated by the power of love and determination to redeem ancient hatreds and heal old magics gone sour. To walk ""widdershins"" is to walk counterclockwise or backwards around something. It's a classic pathway into the fairy realm. It's also the way people often back slowly into the relationships that matter, the real ones that make for a life. In Widdershins Charles de Lint has delivered one of his most accessible and moving works of his career. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
This pleasing addition to the popular Newford saga (The Onion Girl, etc.) brings series characters Jilly Coppercorn and Geordie Riddell together in a romantic relationship that's anything but simple. In de Lint's magic-realist universe, a version of contemporary North America, the supernatural is taken for granted and the occasional skeptic who doesn't understand that everyone else has routine encounters with fairies and Native American earth spirits is left very much in the dark. Many of the characters are folk musicians, one of whom begins the story under magical compulsion to perform for the fairy revels in a shopping mall after closing time. These fairies aren't necessarily of the cuddly sort--early on, a female musician barely escapes possible rape or murder from nasty little men. In the background, a great war is brewing between Native American spirits and those that came over with the white men, a situation that inevitably recalls Neil Gaiman's American Gods, to which this more intimate and folksy book compares favorably.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 11, 2007
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Excerpt from Widdershins by Charles de Lint
The crossroads at midnight. Or at least a crossroads, and while it was long past midnight, it still had the feel of the witching hour about it.
If Lizzie Mahone had been superstitious, she might have been more nervous about her car breaking down as it had, here where two county roads crossed in the middle of nowhere with nothing to mark the spot but an enormous old elm tree, half dead from a lightning strike. And the thought still crossed her mind as she got out of the car and popped the hood, her flashlight beam playing over the Chevy's V-6 engine. You couldn't be a musician and not know the story, how the old bluesman Robert Johnson once met the devil himself at the crossroads. But that had been in the Delta, deep south. This was just the dusty meeting place of a couple of dirt roads, surrounded by farmers' fields and bush. Nothing mysterious here, though that big old moon lent an eerie light to the elm tree and there was something in the wind. . . .
Yes, Lizzie thought. Her imagination. Better it should concentrate instead on what was wrong with the car.
She jiggled the wires going to the distributor cap and battery, but that was about the extent of her mechanical knowledge when it came to cars, and she only tried it because it was something that others had done when the car broke down in the past. Sometimes it had even worked. She didn't really have a clue what she was doing, or what she should be looking for. Cars started when you turned the key, or they didn't. The world between the two was as mysterious as where the tunes she made up came from, though with the latter, at least, she had the faith that if she needed a piece of music, it would come. Maybe not right away. It could be late, sneaking up on her while she was in the shower, or down at the grocery store, walking down the aisles, hours or even days after she first started looking for the melody to go with a title or a feeling or the first couple of bars she already had. But it would come.
That wouldn't happen trying to figure out what was wrong with this confusing mess of wires, pipes, and engine parts. She didn't have faith, for one thing. And she certainly didn't have the mechanical background the way she had such an easy familiarity with her fiddle.
So a spontaneous solution to her problem was pretty much out of the question.
And, of course, she'd let her cell phone go dead when she could have easily had it charging while they were up on stage this evening. But she hadn't thought of that until she was in the parking lot after the show, getting into her car.
She looked up and down the dirt road she was standing on. There were no headlights visible in either direction. She hadn't seen another car or a farmhouse or pretty much anything since leaving Sweetwater and the bar where the band had played tonight. In retrospect, she should have stayed over as the others were doing. Right now they'd be hanging around in the bar, or in one of the rooms that the bar had provided for them upstairs, playing some tunes or just sharing a drink and some chat. But wishful thinking was always easier in retrospect, wasn't it? And if she had stayed, there probably would have been problems with Con, who couldn't seem to get it through that thick head of his that they weren't an item, never had been, never would be.
There was nothing really wrong with him. He was charming and good looking, easy to get along with, and while he might be just a touch too fond of the drink, he was a wonderful guitar player. She simply had her rules.
"What do you have against dating musicians?" he'd asked the last time the subject came up.