I’ve always been obsessed with faerie tales, but ever since I read Tolkien’s novella, Smith of Wootton Major, I have also been obsessed with the land of Faerie (or Faery). Not the little winged, insect-type faeries. Not Tinker Bell. But Faeries, as in the inhabitants of Faerieland. I completely lapped up the miniseries Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (though I have yet to get my hands on the book) and am seeking more like it.
I’ve spent the last few days sick and reading this really cool book called The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle–an American who relocated to Scotland.
I wasn’t originally going to get a book. I had strong convictions when I entered the library (“Don’t get a book! You have stacks of books already! You don’t need any more!”) but my dad took a lot longer than I did picking out the CDs he wanted, so there was nothing else for it than to go study the books. And sure, I picked several up, but I had the willpower to put them back down again—until this one. The title, and the Celtic-looking…thing…on the spine…well, I had to find out what that was.
The first thing I noticed on the cover was the enlarged picture from the spine…what appeared to be a door in a stone wall. Underneath was the teaser: “What happens when someone vanishes without a trace?” At the very top, a promotional quote from Dean Koontz: “A thriller, detective story, and fantasy all in one. A winner!”
I knew I had to read this book.
Even so, I’d sworn I wasn’t going to get anything, so I opened the inside cover to read more about it and to see if it could wait.
It couldn’t. I read things about this private investigator living in London, an obscure Celtic myth, a journey into the Highlands of Scotland, and a line that taunted me with “a door from one world into the heart of another”. There was no parting with this book.
I looked up, startled, to see that my dad was already at the checkout—I’d already checked out, myself! And there was a line of five people behind him! And the library was closing in five minutes!
I went running, ducking under two ropes, and tossed the book on the counter, just in time. “Get this!” I panted. “Get it; I have to read it!”
The whole book is about a girl who disappeared, presumably to Faerieland. And I like the author’s style in drawing your involvement and belief in her story—because, as it is about an investigator of missing people, she peppers the story with other odd accounts of missing people, each in their own 2- or 3-page chapters. Each of these separate stories gets stranger and more difficult to believe—but she doesn’t feed them to you until you’re far enough along in her main story so that there is a plausible explanation for them—these people were carried off by Faeries, these human-like denizens of an Otherworld, which can sometimes be traveled to from our own.
I had a feeling, while reading these shorter stories, that all of them were true, or at least believed to be true, here in our own world…so I followed this feeling to the internet, where I Googled the names of some of these people. Again and again, I got results, and plenty of them, with stories of these people that perfectly corroborated the ones in the book. These stories were all true—at least, they were real legends, and not made up by the author. She had essentially crafted her story around these real stories of missing people and involvements with Faeries.
It was exactly what I needed while trying to get well.