Singer of Souls
Adam Stemple, . . Tor, $22.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1170-2
At the start of Stemple's wonderful fantasy debut, his first solo effort (he's collaborated with his mother, Jane Yolen, on children's music books), Douglas "Doc" Stewart, a recovering heroin addict and talented street musician, flees Minnesota for Scotland and his Grandma McLaren, who welcomes her grandson with open arms but warns, "I've buried three husbands and I'll bury you, too, if need be." Doc's subsequent success as a busker in Edinburgh strengthens his resolve to stay clean. During the Fringe arts festival, he meets a fey young woman, Aine, who gives him the gift of sight distilled in white powder he shoots into his arm. This ability to perceive the faery world puts him in grave danger after Aine is abducted by a strange priest, Father Croser, who uses his own magical sight for evil purposes. A "bogie" (or mischievous spirit) enlists Doc's assistance in rescuing Aine, but Doc soon finds himself drawn into a faeryland that's alarmingly similar to the world of addiction he thought he'd escaped forever and an erotic adventure that holds shocking consequences. Fans of Charles de Lint and Clive Barker will find much to like.
Reviewed on: 06/13/2005