cover image Heart of Briar

Heart of Briar

Laura Anne Gilman. Harlequin/Luna, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-80355-2

Fans and skeptics of the occult will be seduced and enthralled by Gilman's metaphysical thriller about wicked elves, shape-shifting supernaturals and portals to another dimension. A fable of good versus evil, Gilman's inspired fantasy is poised between two worlds: Human, whose denizens are unaware they are being invaded; and Preternatural, whose elf inhabitants, called preters, are infiltrating our world. Evil elf preters are coming to America to lure and steal clueless humans through a portal hidden in a big-city alleyway. Computer programmer Jan becomes worried when her quality assurance tech-head boyfriend, Tyler, vanishes. With help from werewolves, bansidhes, kelpies and trolls%E2%80%94a mysterious team of elf enemies, yet not completely trustworthy%E2%80%94Jan follows Tyler's cyber bread crumbs, learning that a demented, sensuous, supercharged preter has beguiled and stolen her boyfriend via an internet dating site. Stjerne has taken Tyler to Elfland through the portal, where he has become her lover, pet and unwitting informant of all things human. Angry at his betrayal, yet worried he will be brain-drained by the preter, Jan teams up with a waterhorse kelpie, named Martin, and his cohorts to find the portal, bring back Tyler and save the world from conquering preters. Gilman (Dragon Justice) melds magic with mayhem for a tale of bravery, friendship and devotion. (Aug.)