Attitude: Take Care
In Brief: Family separation because of a lesbian affair. Commonplace acceptance of family breakups. One disturbingly camp character. Brief unintended voyeurism.
Series: Faerie Wars
Published in: 2003
Age Range: Young Teens
Setting: Contemporary UK / The Faerie Realm
- Henry Atherton is a 14-year-old boy whose parents are having difficulties and who gets involved with a faery his age who is in hiding from his own world.
- Pyrgus is one of the Princes of the Faeries transported to our world for safekeeping from the Night Faeries.
- Mr Fogarty is a retired physicist turned bank robber, and a great believer in conspiracy theories, who employs Henry for odd jobs and at whose house Pyrgus appears.
Pyrgus, Prince of the Purple Emperor of the Faeries, is accidentally transported to Mr Fogarty's house and must rely on Henry and Mr Fogarty to return him to the Faerie Realm. Meanwhile, Pyrgus' sister Holly Blue has caught wind of a plot to assassinate the Emperor which is merely a front for the Demon Beleth to get a foothold into the Faerie Realm.
Literary: The plot — a palace intrigue with some magical elements and demonic interference thrown in — is supplemented by the characters of Henry and Mr Fogarty and their efforts to get Phrygus back and then to play their own part in the surrounding politics. It's interesting while undemanding. With the exception of the occasional deception, you pretty much know who's good and who's bad.
Modesty & Decency: Henry's parents are looking at separating, because his mother is having an affair with his father's female secretary. His father's nonplussed, although his mother discusses possible living arrangements matter-of-factly. Henry's girl friend Charlie describes Henry's bewilderment as old-fashioned and reveals that her mother divorced her violent biological father long ago and married again.
Mr Chalkhill, one of the two pantomime-esque proprietors of a glue factory in which Pyrgus is captured, is camp in the extreme: his good-looking butler wears shorts and Chalkhill makes suggestive comments about what he'd do to Pyrgus.
At one point Henry accidentally comes across Holly having a bath in the palace. He is captivated by the sight and knows he should turn away: “That's what he knew he should do, but somehow his legs wouldn't work... It wasn't fair on her. He had to stop looking and go away.” There's no ill intention, but it's quite a sensual moment.
Pyrgus said, “Mr Fogarty has been telling me about how your people are getting kidmapped by small beings with large eyes and thin limbs. Faeries of the Night use creatures like that — in my world we call them demons.”
Demons, Henry thought. Pyrgus was as big a nutter as Mr Fogarty. Carefully he said, “And Faeries of the Night are what?”
“Bit hard to explain,” Pyrgus said. “They're sort of different from Faeries of the Light.”
Henry started to feel like he was drowning. “What are Faeries of the Light?”
“My Lot,” Pyrgus told him cheerfully.
Wednesday 5th November 2003