Written by Christopher Golden
Published by Bantam Books
I’ve been reading Christopher Golden’s work for many years now, starting off with his excellent vampire series, Shadow Saga, and following his various trade and paperback releases since then. Golden is a solid author who has great attention to detail when it comes to characterization and plotting, and I’ve always waited for him to write that one book that will make him a better-known name in writing circles and the public at large.
The Myth Hunters just might be that book.
Starting of a new series of adventures that takes place both in our world and on the other side of The Veil, The Myth Hunters is a fast-paced, energetic romp filled with a wide variety of enthralling characters and a history that could take several books on it’s own detail. Luckily, Golden’s skill is such that he’s able to keep the reader interested from the very first page by revealing just enough about the world the main character is thrown into to keep both the story and our interest moving along swiftly.
Known primarily for his horror stories as well as his work within the “Buffy” comics, co-authoring The Stephen King Universe, and numerous other works both fiction and non, The Myth Hunters is Golden’s first real attempt at an adult fantasy story, created with enough mature sensibilities to make it interesting despite the trappings usually associated with the term “fantasy”. It’s actually a bit difficult to put The Myth Hunters into any one category, as it crosses the fantasy and horror borders with the same amount of frequency while maintaining a very coherent, intelligent concept that never sways from the realm of this universe’s reality.
The story follows attorney Oliver Bascombe who, on the night before his wedding, meets the one and only Jack Frost, harbinger of winter in legends and myths that have been around for centuries. Frost comes quite literally smashing through the window of the Victorian mansion where Oliver lives with is father, on the run from a Myth Hunter called The Falconer. Frost has been injured, and pleads with Oliver to save his life by helping him cross to the other side of The Veil, the land that myths and legends banished themselves to hundreds of years before. The winter man is able to explain that he is from the other side, where the legends of the mundane world have resided since humans stopped believing in legends and looked towards science.
The Falconer finds the two, and Oliver is forced to cross over with Frost in order to save his own life. Oliver finds himself in a world he’d always hoped existed; a place of magic, giants, and fairies; a world that is just on the other side of our known reality, where humans can sometimes slip into at spots where The Veil is thin. If this happens they can never go back to our world, and this is used to explain the disappearance of many people throughout history; from the residents of Roanoke Island to Amelia Earhart. Since Oliver went over with a Borderkind, as Frost is considered, he is able to cross back and forth freely. Unfortunately this also means that he’s marked for death by the Two Kingdoms, as The Veil can never be known to the mundane world; Oliver’s knowledge of it is too much of a risk.
Frost and Oliver set out both to find the one human who was able to cross over and had has life spared, a Professor Koenig, and to find out who or what has sent the Myth Hunters out to murder all of the Borderkind. As they trek across the land they meet all manner of legends and myths (though don’t call them that to their face) from a wide variety of cultures and regions.
Meanwhile, back in our world, a creature from The Veil has escaped and is murdering innocents. A detective hired to find out what happend to Oliver learns that this creature and Oliver are somehow connected, and things get increasingly stranger as he goes along . Stories of Oliver Bascombe being one place one minute and disappearing the next abound, and the closer he gets the less sense it all makes. His already troubled life takes on a whole new dimension of strangeness until he finds himself too far in and with too many unanswered questions to turn back.
Golden has succeeded in crafting a story that is at times adventure, mystery, horror, and fantasy, and fills it with believable characters and relationships that makes you care for each and every one of them. His gift for getting in the heads of his creations is in top form in The Myth Hunters and I found myself coming back to reading this at every opportunity I had.
And this is only the beginning. Golden has three books planned for The Veil series, and this first one ends with almost as many mysteries as it began, so I can’t wait to see where he takes us next.
If you’re looking for something that’s out of the ordinary on almost every level, but somehow manages to also be compelling and familiar, seek out The Myth Hunters. You’ll thank me later.
4 ½ out of 5 Mugs O’ Blood
Discuss The Myth Hunters in our forums!