Results of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in the year 1990.
On a rainswept night alive with lightning and thunder, a doctor staggers, drunken, through the streets, and slips a wedding ring on the finger of a bewitching statue…
On the morning after his wedding, Dr. Michael Crawford awakens to a bed soaked by carnage… and the impossibly savaged body of his bride. Already marked with guilt for the accidental deaths of his previous wife and his younger brother, Crawford flees England to escape the hangman’s noose. His only hope lies with England’s greatest, and most notorious, poets - Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Keats - who bring Crawford to a terrible understanding of the strange force that damns him as surely as it protects him from harm.
For Crawford has another, secret bride, one who rules the hours of his sleep; it is she whom Keats called la belle dame sans merce, the poet’s muse. She is as beautiful as she is evil, an eons-old power that has sparked a hundred myths, and now threatens to ravage the lives of each of her lovers…
Since the day her father’s fishing boat returned without him, Peri and her mother have mourned his loss. Her mother sinks into a deep depression and spends her days gazing out at the sea. Unable to control her anger and sadness any longer, Peri uses the small magic she knows to hex the sea. And suddenly into her drab life come the King’s sons—changelings with strange ties to the underwater kingdom—a young magician, and, finally, love.
Half a generation ago, a gesture in the name of peace turned out to spread plague and disaster. In San Francisco, the survivors are heir to a city transformed. It is a haunted, dreaming place peopled with memories, and in a strange way nearly alive itself. And although it is only beginning to recover from near-ultimate disaster, the city is at risk again. An army of power-hungry men are descending on San Francisco. Teenagers Jax and Danny-boy must lead the fight for freedom using the only weapons they have—art, magic, and the soul of the city itself.
In the world of Fool on the Hill dogs and cats can talk, a subculture of sprites lives in the shadows and underfoot (if you’re the sensitive type, or drunk enough, you might see them cavorting across the lawn), and the Bohemians, a group of Harley- and horseback-riding students dedicated to all things unconventional, hold all-night revels for the glory of their cause.
Then there is Stephen Titus George, the novel’s youthful hero, who somehow finds himself the main player in a story that began well over a century ago. George is a mild-mannered flier of kites, a sometimes writer of bestselling fiction, and would-be knight looking for a maiden. George will find his girl and the century-old story will provide the proverbial dragon whose slaying will sanctify their love. But it will not be a sword that fells the foe but the transforming power of the imagination.
The Tales of Alvin Maker series continues in volume three, Prentice Alvin. Young Alvin returns to the town of his birth, and begins his apprenticeship with Makepeace Smith, committing seven years of his life in exchange for the skills and knowledge of a blacksmith. But Alvin must also learn to control and use his own talent, that of a Maker, else his destiny will be unfulfilled.