'The Faerie Ring' by John Reppion

I continued my reading of The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Mazes with this excellent tale of an artist who becomes fascinated with a labyrinth in a small English community. Olivia Chase has become obsessed with finding old turf mazes, and when she finds one that is still in use for ann ancient ritual she is understandably delighted. But, as is carefully foreshadowed, this 'Faerie Ring' is sacred, and her efforts to capture it on canvas are unwise.

This is a nicely-crafted story that manages to rehabilitate faeries (a phrase I never thought I'd write), after their 'gentrification' by the Victorians. Children wearing glittery wings inevitably spring to mind when 'fairies' are mentioned, along with Tinkerbell, of course. But here the creatures are emphatically not human, or at least not entirely, and their ways are disturbing, incomprehensible, menacing. The reader's sympathy is always with Olivia, the creative protagonist, even when we know she is going too far. The climax of the story is well-judged and the characterisation effective.

What next? We shall soon see. I will continue my reading of this collection very soon.


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