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    Review of SPIRITS IN THE WIRES by Charles de Lint (see his website)

    TOR, August 2003

    When a book reviewer blackmails a hacker into sending a computer virus into the wordwood website, things get ugly. Because wordwood left the simple world of computing long before and migrated into the spirit workd. A virus there is a lot more serious, and hundreds of people getting sucked into their computers is just the start of the problems.

    When his girlfriend is one of those sucked in, Christy Riddell resolves to go after her--even if it means entering into the spirit world. Of course he's never actually been in the spirit world and isn't even sure he believes in it, but he's willing to do whatever it takes to save her. Gathering a group of friends and questionable allies, he sets off. But things have gone downhill in wordwood and its problems are starting to spread even more widely. If he and his band don't succeed, the problems may become a lot more serious than just a few missing persons.

    Author Charles de Lint (see more reviews of novels by de Lint) brings new life to the concept of merging the computer and fantasy world. The fairy people aren't all involved with computers, but many shadows are given strength by people's belief in them and lots of people believe what computers tell them. de Lint's writing is lyrical, engaging the reader and giving the story a tang of its own. The power of this novel comes not from the conclusions, although there are some charming twists there as well, but from the progression through adventure, from de Lint's descriptions and concepts, and from the way he paints his story rather than simply telling it.

    SPIRITS IN THE WIRES takes a fairly standard concept and really breaths light into it. de Lint fans will be happy to see many familiar characters return, as well as enjoy meeting some of the new characters and concepts that de Lint brings to the light. It's a charming story. Well done.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/08/03

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