In the days of the first spring flood in the Year of the Gryphon the Lords of High Hallack made their covenant with the Were Riders of the Waste. Those who came to speak with the lords wore the bodies of men but they were not of humankind. They were dour fighters...men—or creatures—of power who ranged the wilderness and were greatly feared. How many there were no man knew but that they had a force beyond human knowledge was certain. Shape-changers, warlocks, sorcerers...rumour had it they were all that and more.
Exiles from afar in space and time, who had opened doors on forbidden things and loosed that which could not be controlled, they wandered until the stars moved into new patterns and they might again seek the gate into their homeland and ask admittance.
Now, in the Year of the Unicorn, they took brides from among men, according to the bargain, and rode eastwards. And among them rode Gillan, the waif, the nameless, who seemed to see beyond the shape of things that were.
In this exhilarating, moving new work, Guy Gavriel Kay casts brilliant light on the ways in which history—whether of a culture or a family—refuses to be buried.
Ned Marriner, fifteen years old, has accompanied his photographer father to Provence for a six-week «shoot» of images for a glossy coffee-table book. Gradually, Ned discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods, cellphones, and seven-seater vans whipping along roads walked by Celtic tribes and Roman legions.
On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and his friends are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous, mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.