Leaving his life of petty crime and drug abuse behind, young Douglas flees from Minneapolis to Edinburgh, Scotland, to his stern but fairminded Grandma McLaren, who will take him in if he can support himself. Fortunately, few cities are friendlier than Edinburgh to a guitarist with a talent for spontaneous rhyme, and soon Douglas is making a decent living as the busker who can write a song about you on the spot.
But Edinburgh has its dangers for the unwary. The annual arts festival, biggest in Europe, draws all manner of footloose sorts, and tempted by the drugs offered by a mysterious young girl, Douglas stumbles.
What follows isn’t what he expects. Suddenly, Douglas can see the fey folk who invisibly share Edinburgh’s ancient streets—in all their beauty and terrifying cruelty. Worse, they can see him, and they’re determined to draw him into their own internecine wars--wars that are fought to the death.
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Adam Stemple is the author of Singer of Souls and, with his mother Jane Yolen, several other novels, including Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and children.From Booklist:
Ex-cop Bridie Stewart comes to Edinburgh, which she hates (rains all the time), to get to the bottom of her grandmother’s vicious murder and her brother Douglas’ disappearance. Edinburgh’s constabulary thinks Doug is the perp, but Bridie bullies them into helping her find out otherwise. After she offs a sleazebag in self-defense, though, they try to put her on the next flight back to the States. She eludes them by ducking into subterranean Edinburgh, from which she’s abducted to Faerie, where Douglas is now malevolent, absolute lord. Meanwhile, the third Stewart sib, psychologically derailed Iraq vet Scott, mysteriously acquires a foundling whom he must protect against hordes of Faerie beasties. The family finally rendezvouses in Faerie, and Doug surrenders his powers to the baby. None of the clan is off Faerie’s hook yet, however; expect further books about their exploits. Stemple’s magnificent first novel, Singer of Souls (2005), arguably didn’t need a sequel at all. Still, this grungy, bloody thriller, though not as morally piquant as Singer, isn’t a bad one. --Ray Olson
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