Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: Greenmantle

After reading Jack the Giant Killer (1987) last month and absolutely loving it, I was kind of nervous to see how the next title would measure up. Luckily for me, Greenmantle (1988), is an incredibly effective book which mixes elements of Fantasy and Crime/Thriller together. The story focuses on Freddie Treasure, a woman who has just won the Wintario lottery and relocates to her childhood home with her teenaged daughter Ali. At the same time the story focuses on an ex-Mafia hitman and his attempt to escape his criminal past.

What I love best about this book was how much it made me think of books like American Gods, Fables, and The Unwritten, in that it plays around with how stories work, where they come from, and what they mean. In the case of Greenmantle, the story focuses on the great god Pan, and his various manifestations throughout mythology and the world. Tying this concept into a crime thriller and adding aspects of Fantasy (the story includes a number of classic Fantasy elements), sounds like it should have muddled up the plot, but the book works so well I was at times shocked at how nicely it all fit together. Add into that the fact that Frankie’s daughter listens to John Owczarek (one of the main characters in Mulengro) and reads Caitlin Midhir (the lead in Yarrow), and the book works both as a story in its own right and as a continuation of the amazing world de Lint works to create throughout his fiction.

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