James A. Hetley, Author . Ace $14 (368p) ISBN 978-0-441-00972-5

Celtic myth is run through the mill of cynical realism and ultra-violence in Hetley's harsh fantasy novel debut. Handsome stranger Brian Albion comes to the rescue when a rapist attacks emotionally troubled Maureen Pierce, a night clerk in a Naskeag Falls, Maine, convenience store. After the bad guy spontaneously combusts, Brian explains that her attacker as well as Maureen herself are "Old Ones," supernatural creatures out of Irish mythology. Through the book's first half, Brian and Maureen battle more evil Old Ones seeking to capture them for breeding purposes, while attempting to work out "issues" brought up by all these shenanigans. Along the way they drag in Maureen's sexually voracious sister, Jo, and Jo's boyfriend, David. Eventually, this group carries their problems into "the Summer Country," the Old Ones' alternate-universe home, which is "two steps away from you, in any direction." Hetley ruins his efforts to make this region believable by lacing it with intrusions from the modern world, including plenty of foul language and brand names. Computers and genetics experiments brush shoulders with dragons and curses, and with one world as pointlessly violent as the other, there's no good reason to have two. Readers used to gentler Celtic fantasy, e.g. Fiona MacLeod, are in for a rude surprise. "Frigging magic," indeed. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1320-2
Ebook - 978-0-7865-3606-1
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 368 pages - 978-0-7865-3604-7
Ebook - 978-0-7865-3605-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-441-01220-6
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