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Greenmantle (Ottawa and the Valley)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,469 ratings  ·  58 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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The Best Urban Fantasy
144th out of 2,436 books — 8,976 voters
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Community Reviews

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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
D.M. Dutcher
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
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.
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.
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
Apr 29, 2012 Lily 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
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
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
Alex Long
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
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.
Yet another of the Ottawa Cycle of novels.
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
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
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.
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
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
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T.L. Merrybard
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
My second favourite De Lint novel, after Yarrow. Love the mythology and the 'other place' motif alongside a gangster story line!
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
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
Gently touching on old magic, interesting thoughts
Loved this book.
Nenia Campbell

i mean, i could if i really to, but i don't want to. finish the book, that is. because the problem is that greenmantle is all over place. for example, this is a fantasy novel but it starts out like the godfather by mario puzo.

by the time eddie "the squeeze" pinelli was five hours dead, valenti was on a boeing 747 halfway across the atlantic.

my first thought was, "did someone take the cover of a fantasy novel and swap it with one of those stupid sequels to the godfather?" i'm all for the element
Rick Piatt
This was my first DeLint. It was unlike anything I'd read before and I sure enjoyed it. I typically read Fantasy or Epic Fantasy predominantly. But to tell the truth the idea of putting "fantasy creatures" here in the world where I live creeps me out completely. Every time I picked up the book it gave me that same feeling I had as a kid on Halloween going through a haunted house. I love it, I love it, I love it.
Stefan Jung
This book by Charles de Lint is best described by quoting a line from it, "It was magic, pure and simple." This is urban fantasy but for me it really transcended genre and was good literature. The characters were well developed and the story itself was thought provoking. I've never read anything else like it; it was original. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a good story that's told well.
Definitely not my favorite of his books, but still a decent read. It's very odd that I had never read this, since I thought I had picked up most of his earlier books at one time or another. I can see the beginnings of some of my favorites of his books in this one, and I can see the connections to some of his horror writing, so it was interesting from that standpoint.
John Hudson
It you like gritty, urban fantasy then you'll love this. Fast paced, with a cast of Mafia hit-men, psychopathic ex's and the horned God Cerunnus thrown into the mix. This novel taps into old forest myths of Europe, and blends them with a story of a single mother starting a new life with her daughter...with something lurking in the trees.
What an odd idea for a book so far...

I really wanted to like this book. I finally just gave up. It was too weird. It should have either been a mafia story OR a fantasy story. It was too much to be both. Further, I found the interludes to be confusing and disturbing at best. I like de Lint's Newford books, but this book was not for me.
I love Charles de Lint, but, I do like his later work much better. These early (80s ish) works are enjoyable if you enjoy old fairy tales woven into modern day tales. He does it better, later, so I recommend starting with some of his more recent work and going backwards...
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Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins. He emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was four months old. He is married and lives in Ottawa.
More about Charles de Lint...
The Blue Girl (Newford, #15) The Onion Girl (Newford, #11) Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1) Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8) Moonheart

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