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Greenmantle (Ottawa and the Valley)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,791 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Not far from the city there is an ancient wood, forgotten by the modern world, where Mystery walks in the moonlight. He wears the shape of a stag, or a goat, or a horned man wearing a cloak of leaves. He is summoned by the music of the pipes or a fire of bones on Midsummer's Evening. He is chased by the hunt and shadowed by the wild girl.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 15th 1998 by Orb Books (first published February 1st 1988)
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City of Bones by Cassandra ClareMoon Called by Patricia BriggsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingVampire Academy by Richelle MeadMagic Bites by Ilona Andrews
The Best Urban Fantasy
167th out of 2,920 books — 10,261 voters
Someplace to Be Flying by Charles  de LintThe Onion Girl by Charles  de LintMoonheart by Charles  de LintDreams Underfoot by Charles  de LintThe Little Country by Charles  de Lint
The Best of Charles de Lint
11th out of 49 books — 36 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 05, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it overall but I did not expect it to be practically half mafia story, half deep woodland story as the book cover and info on the back does not hint at the mafia involvement whatsoever. If I had picked the book up in a shop I may have read the first couple of pages and been put off by the beginning mafia scenes and not purchased it so I am glad I bought it offline and was not put off when I persevered with it thinking it was probably just setting a scene and the woodland scenes would s ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Allyson rated it it was amazing
This is the second book by Charles de Lint that I've read, and I'm totally hooked. The story was not at all what I expected, in the best possible way. How many fantasy novels have you read that started off depicting the aftermath of a mafia hit? I'm guessing none. And yet de Lint is such a masterful storyteller that he manages to weave together the backgrounds and needs of a wide variety of characters without ever letting the reader feel confused, lost, or disinterested. Before long, it's making ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Apr 13, 2012 D.M. Dutcher rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, overrated
Meh. A bunch of different characters like a former mafia hitman, a divorced wife and her bright daughter, a bunch of neopagan villagers, and a mysterious wild girl all live in the wilds of Canada. They all are touched by a gigantic stag as the past of several of them come to a violent head.

It starts out well, but then drags on. I'm sure for the time the neo-paganism was groundbreaking, but it feels really tired and cliche here, especially the typical "Christianity is bad m'kay" vibe. I'm not aga
Dec 06, 2012 SuperHeroQwimm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is freaking weird! Its like mobsters mixed with fairy tales. I dont really know how to describe it but it's different. I loved the characters. And I also love the random extremely sexual scenes because they actually work in this book.
Dec 31, 2008 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fae, canadian-authors
This was the first of de Lint's books that I read. I didn't know what to expect and I just couldn't put it down. I find that de Lint has a simple style that just draws me in.
Apr 29, 2012 Lilia added it
My opinion isn't objective, since I first laid my hands upon his books, but I will try my best anyway.

This book took me longer to finish than others, something in the plot seemed more different than his usual "style" of writing. Maybe it's just because I don't like much action, guns and violence in my books, maybe he took a different path of storytelling.
Anyhow, no matter how much I was disappointed with the whole "Godfather" mess that he described here and gave less space for the magical line
Aug 02, 2011 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
This was a magical and amazing book that transported me to a reality where the Horned One still roams the woods accompanied by various companions, both good and evil.

This wondrous tale involves a single mother, her otherworldly teenage daughter and a former mob hitman living outside a small town in Canada where mystical creatures still roam.

To throw some wrenches into the works are the mother's larcenous ex-husband and the hitman's former employer. How it all resolves is both gripping and awesom
Frank Talaber
Feb 23, 2015 Frank Talaber rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed, I like the happy ending between Frankie and Tony. And the fact that this Mafia dude had a good heart and was trying to start a new life, which in his case wouldn't be easy. The mix of the fantasy elements were very believable.

MuseItUP Shaman's Lure:
Brian Darvell
Jan 17, 2015 Brian Darvell rated it liked it
I chose Greenmantle solely because I read that it was a good start to reading anything by de Lint. His style of Urban Fantasy is unique because it combines both the aspects of traditional fiction with aspects of fantasy. This undoubtedly gets many true Fantasy aficionados upset that his work should be considered Fantasy at all but I now tend to disagree with these beliefs since reading this novel.

Greenmantle on the whole is just a simple, yet good, story. There's nothing in the way of true discu
Alex Long
Aug 04, 2014 Alex Long rated it really liked it
This is a fun novel that had excellent pacing. It reads like a television show, with viewpoints switching between characters just as their individual story has reached a sort of climax in order to evoke suspense for when their story picks back up again.
The things I didn't like about they book are explained by it being written a while ago when the elements in it weren't so overused. The main character is a fourteen year old girl who's a bookworm who longs for adventure and is every
Streator Johnson
May 08, 2016 Streator Johnson rated it liked it
This is the first novel by Charles De Lint I have read. Earlier, I read a collection of his short stories and loved them. Now I am trying out his longer works. While this book, one of his earlier books (published in 1988), it is a few years before he started working on his "Newford Stories," a series of stories and book that I have found more intersting. But getting back to this work, it combines the sort of urban fantasy deLint is know for with a rather outside the genre thriller tale. It doesn ...more
Jul 22, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it
Actually, this was the first De Lint I read, some time in the late '80s. His blending of Celtic pagan themes in the modern era resonated with me. Maybe not as good as his later Newford cycle, it has a special place in my heart.
May 28, 2008 Rob rated it it was amazing
Yet another of the Ottawa Cycle of novels.
Tony was a hitman in New York City before he was set up and a price was put on his head. Frankie and Ali are a mother and daughter team who are hoping that the money from a lotto win will help them finally settle down and restore Frankie's childhood home and they can live a normal life. By accident, the three meet and quickly discover that there are things living in the woods behind their Canadian home. Some things are friendly and want to help while other things are there to only cause hurt. To ...more
Feb 08, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I like the mix of modern-day thriller and mystical fantasy which de Lint manages to weave together so skillfully. Think of a mash-up of Catherine Coulter and Angela Carter... it is something like that.

Short synopsis: Former Mafia hitman, now in hiding from the 'family', acquires new neighbors - a woman who has recently won the Wintario lottery and her 14-year-old daughter. The woman's lowlife ex-husband decides to come for the money and recognizes the neighbor. Meanwhile, strange & magical m
Sep 03, 2012 Jaimie rated it it was amazing
This novel's blend of urban fantasy elements with Italian mob intrigues was an unexpected, but clever, combination of opposites. Canadian folk-lore (remnants from British settlers) is a major element of the plot here, but it is overshadowed by the human concerns of the real world: a potential kidnapping for money and a crime-sydicate feud. Even though the focus was more on the urban than the fantasy elements, I still found this novel to be highly interesting because Charles touches on a theme th ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Dina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First encounter with de Lint. Picked this up at a great indie bookstore in Seattle (really, all indie bookstores there are great.) Recommendation from the owner when I stated a preference for fantasy that crosses world boundaries.

Cultural refs are somewhat dated. Not sure I got all of them. De Lint has a habit of making not-so-subtle shout-outs to his fantasy author contemporaries and also name-drops a number of bigwigs in the neopagan movement (Crowley, Regardie, Buckland, etc.) that distracts.
Apr 27, 2012 Donovan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Greenmantle (I think) is one of the better novels to come from de Lint. It is certainly a faster paced story and slightly less dreamy compared to his other works. I found it to me more 'real' and gritty which gave it an air of believability to it as well. It contains all the subtleties that have to do with the pagan influence that de Lint draws from while maintaining his well developed characters.

A great read for anyone how is interested in exploring the fantastic worlds that are woven between o
Barbara Gordon
Aug 12, 2012 Barbara Gordon rated it liked it
Getting a late start on this, the book that seems to be de Lint's best known. Previously I'd read Mulengro, which I suppose isn't typical of his work, and the 'Jack' books, so I'm not exactly well-versed. I did feel that I should have read Dunsany's The Blessing of Pan, first, since de Lint says it was the springboard for his book.
I found some of the same problems as I did with Mulengro, in that the book feels lumpy. The low-life and criminal thread was better integrated into the main story than
Curly Brace
Jul 14, 2015 Curly Brace rated it it was ok
Uhhh... I don't think mafia and mythology should go together. The characters where interesting by themselves individually, but not all put together in a single book....

I would love to read stories about Ali and Mally and their journies through the Faerie or her mom and the Mafia story, but not together. It creates an odd mix that I don't think matches very well.

Apr 04, 2010 Rebecca rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
T.L. Merrybard
Jun 27, 2014 T.L. Merrybard rated it really liked it
One of my fave de Lint books. I really enjoy the interactions between the good guys, Ali is great, and I wish I could go live in that village. :)
Karen Dolman
Jun 03, 2014 Karen Dolman rated it it was amazing
My second favourite De Lint novel, after Yarrow. Love the mythology and the 'other place' motif alongside a gangster story line!
Sep 06, 2011 Cupcakencorset rated it it was amazing
Written in 1988, this is the earliest of de Lint's books that I've read (I think) and it does a terrific job of introducing the magic and whimsy and mystery of the world he has created. This one is set in eastern Canada. It crosses the young-punk New York mob, old-school New York mob, the 14-year-old daughter and the former wife of a dirt-bag drug dealer with old-world mystery and secrets. The result is a surprising, dark, delightful, mystical intersection, with engaging characters and an innova ...more
Mar 22, 2008 Myridian rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book was quite captivating in that it reminded me of the childhood fantasies that I had about being transported into another fantasy realm, or discovering mythical creatures within our own world. I also very much liked de Lint's discussion of the role that myth and "mystery" play in our cultures and in our psyches. The characters somehow were not as compelling as I had hoped they would be. Most of the main bad guys, as well as one of the main heroes, were mafia members, and I've never been ...more
An excellent tale woven with celtic folklore and modern imagery.
Jul 28, 2014 Alasdair rated it really liked it
Gently touching on old magic, interesting thoughts
Chuck Ledger
Mar 10, 2016 Chuck Ledger rated it it was amazing
Had a hard time putting this one down.
Jan 04, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Read years ago and was a fabulous read.
Sep 30, 2014 Annika rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.
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Charles de Lint is the much beloved author of more than seventy adult, young adult, and children's books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, he is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. Modern Library's Top 100 Books of the 20th Century poll, conducted by Random House and voted on by readers, put eight of de Lint's b ...more
More about Charles de Lint...

Other Books in the Series

Ottawa and the Valley (9 books)
  • Moonheart
  • Yarrow
  • Ascian in Rose
  • Westlin Wind
  • Merlin Dreams In The Mondream Wood
  • Ghostwood
  • Spiritwalk
  • The Road to Lisdoonvarna

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