Thursday, February 8, 2007

Greenmantle by Charles De Lint

Greenmantle is a beautiful story, a hidden story. It is a story of love, murder, revenge, loss, past mysteries, resolution, friendship and the fantastic. This is the first work of Charles De Lint's that I have read, and I must say that he will be put on my list of must read author's after this wonderful book.

Greenmantle is the tale of "a mystery," a being that exist in our world, yet lives in a parallel version of that same world. He is a stag, a greenman, Pan, a goat, etc. Alice Treasure and her mother, Frankie, move to a very small country town out in the woods after winning the lottery. Ali discovers the sound of pipes playing in the woods and is changed by the sound.

Mix this story with a mafia story and what you have is Greenmantle. I never thought that I would be a fan of any story about the mafia. Just never been in to that genre, but De Lint works the mafia into a work of fantasy and it really works! What you get is a wonderful story with a strong human touch and beautiful, well developed characters, set in the real world, yet a fantasy world at the same time.

De Lint's writing style reminds me a lot of Neil Gaiman's. Common themes can be drawn between the two writers. Both are able to create a totally believable fantasy world within the modern world in which we live. Both focus on relationships between people and the power that is in those relationships. Both take ordinary people and make them into their own kind of heroes. Gaiman has a slight edge over De Lint, but that should not take anything away from De Lint. De Lint knows how to write a page turner that doesn't just have a driving plot (numerous plots at that), but he knows how to write well. He always chooses the right words and really makes this book an enjoyable and moving experience.

The cover art is wonderful and is done by David Bergen. Nice stuff.

Favorite line of the book: "I've been all the way there and back again - just like Bilbo."


Carl V. said...

Glad you enjoyed it, it is definitely one that I want to pick up. Eventhough I haven't finished it yet I highly recommend Widdershins. It features characters from earlier stories but he wrote it as sort of a stand alone story as well. Early on it gives good background info on the characters but does so in the service of the story so it doesn't read like an obvious recap.

Chris said...

Great! I was trying to figure out which book of his I'd read next. Looks like Widdershins will be it. Isn't he a great writer.

Carl V. said...

I plan to get back to Widdershins next month when the fantasy/fairy tale challenge starts. I also want to get the short story book that Quixotic posted about the other day as it sounds really good.

Chris said...

When's the fantasy/fairy tale challenge? Have a link?

Carl V. said...

It will be March 22nd-June21st. I'll be posting about it around the first of March. Still getting a few details together.

Chris said...

Awesome! Can't wait.