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Someplace To Be Flying by Charles De Lint

28/11/2005. Contributed by Shaun Green

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pub: TOR/Orb. 380 page enlarged paperback. Price: $14.95 (US), $19.95 (CAN). ISBN: 0-765-30757-X.

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Lily is a freelance photojournalist and Hank is a gypsy cab driver, amongst other things. Ordinarily these two would never meet, but this is not a night for ordinary things. As Hank is driving through the slums, he sees Lily struggling with an assailant and against his better judgement stops to help. As a bullet punches through his chest, he ponders the error of his ways.

Then the two of them are rescued by the most unlikely saviours. A pair of punky-looking girls who appear from nowhere, kill the man threatening them and miraculously heal Hank and Lily's wounds. Then they are gone again. Hank and Lily are left to ponder exactly what has just happened to them. To their surprise they also discover that they are linked by a man named Jack and his stories of animal people.

Elsewhere in the city of Newford, teenager Kerry has arrived after a long journey. She is fleeing a troubled past and hopes to make herself a life free of the madness that once plagued her. It quickly becomes apparent that her new home is far from ordinary, from the two crow girls who claim to live outside in a tree to the man named Ray who tries to abduct her after claiming to be her grandfather.

Events are unfolding in Newford that will soon involve them all - human and animal people alike. For Newford is not exclusively populated by our kind, but also by those who have lived for as long as time itself. A war is stirring and the stakes are higher than anyone can imagine.

'Someplace To Be Flying' is not the first time de Lint has visited the fictional city of Newford. The novels 'Trader' and 'Memory And Dream' along with other short stories are also set there. Having not read de Lint in the past and thus being entirely unfamiliar with Newford, I can safely say that this novel can be read alone without troubles. There is a tremendous sense of backstory here but it is never oppressive. Instead it is intriguing. De Lint has drawn on Native American legend and mythology and woven it into a thoroughly convincing urban environment populated by fascinating characters. The role of storytellers is important to this novel and it is gratifying that de Lint himself is so accomplished.

Although this novel was originally released in 1998 in hardback, I would recommend that anyone interested in urban fantasy check out this attractive paperback edition. If you too are unfamiliar with Charles de Lint then you may be pleasantly surprised!

Shaun Green

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