The Borderkind (Beyond the Veil)
by Christopher Golden
Cover Artist: Craig DeCamps
Review by Drew Bittner
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553383270
Date: 27 March 2007 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In The Myth Hunters by Christopher Golden, lawyer Oliver Bascombe found himself caught up in a civil war that's erupted out of Faerie and into the mortal realm. People are being murdered by a horrifying Sandman, while those few able to cross between worlds are likewise being hunted and killed. Joining Kitsune (a werefox) and Jack Frost, Oliver has tried to discover the reasons behind these murders... making himself a target at the same time.
Now, in The Borderkind, things kick into high gear. Oliver and his friends are alternately pursuing and pursued across the world, while Oliver's fiancee Julianna and police detective Halliwell follow. Oliver has been implicated in the latest murder (even though it's a long, long way from his family home in Maine), and human law enforcement is searching for him everywhere. At the same time, the Sandman's rampage continues, while the Borderkind rally and begin to seek answers on their own.
Finding their way into the other world, Julianna and Halliwell learn that they cannot go back--once they've crossed the Veil between worlds, they are trapped for all time (which would put a big crimp in Julianna's wedding plans and Halliwell's career). Oliver's sister Sara is likewise looking for Oliver, after the Sandman murdered their father, and hopes that Oliver can explain what's going on.
Julianna and Halliwell learn of a prophecy that a Legend-Born person will bring about the Meshing, when the worlds will be joined once again; until then, however, they cannot return to their old lives.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Kitsune hurry to a meeting at the mythic Castle of Otranto, where Oliver is mistaken for an assassin. Jack has problems of his own, as his own mission brings him into conflict with a Chinese fire elemental.
Ultimately, the humans lost on the far side of the Veil work to gather up the Borderkind and lead them against their enemies, who have set their sights on Oliver for reasons of their own. The final battle in this novel is an epic of overwhelming odds and unexpected outcomes... but that's what fairy tales are all about, isn't it?
But things are left in dire straits indeed--which is where Golden's next installment The Lost Ones picks up in a few short months.
Golden has created a fascinating alternate world of mythical creatures come to life. They have a complex, well-developed society, ranging from the cosmopolitan to the backwoods rustic, with many creatures drawn directly from folklore making their way into the story. Where many writers might limit the focus to one group of myths, Golden is refreshingly egalitarian, bringing in myths from around the world with gleeful abandon. Not just "Sidhe" or "goblins" in this story! The way in which they interact is well done, too, with subtle implications of distrust, prejudice and old grudges amongst the myths. Even as they must work together, lest they be destroyed by those who want to prevent the Meshing, they are not easy allies or fast friends.
In all, Golden has a terrific new series here, redefining myths the way he redefined vampires in his four-book Shadow Saga series. Fans of modern fantasy should consider escaping the everyday with The Borderkind this holiday season.