There is a story of a beast, and a merchant’s daughter, and a curse that must be broken.
This is not—quite—that story.
Amber Gryce believes in magic the way anyone does: as a thing of the past, marked now only by the long reign of an ancient queen sworn to live until her stolen son is returned to her. Such stories are romantic but distant for Amber, surrounded by family and wealth.
But like magic, wealth can disappear. Left destitute, Amber’s family retreats to a forest holding far from their city home, where Amber’s love of roses leads her into the heart of enchantment, and draws her into a retelling of the tale as old as time….
But it takes more than words to lead a kingdom.
Should a ruler grow too trusting or complacent in her role as princess, she just might wake up one day to discover that her story has been altered, without a trace of the original in her memoryscape. She could find herself living another life in a place that seems vaguely familiar, but isn't exactly where she belongs. Her days may seem...shadowed somehow. Her mind fragmented, as if she were trapped in a nightmare from which she will never awaken. Although the princess may not be able to put her finger directly on the mark, she knows deep inside that something is askew.
You might be wondering how I know all this. It's simple, really. I'm the one who wrote their stories. Every word, from the very first drop of ink to the last—every line, every bit of dialogue—spilled from my quill.
It might surprise you to know that I was also the one who changed their stories. Not of my own accord, of course. A scribe has not the power to alter the path of a princess, nor would I ever want to. I loathe editing. I say tell the tale once and be done with it. That's how the best work emerges. But, alas, these orders came from above my head.
The messenger who stood before my cottage door smelled of onions and rain clouds, with a pumpkin shaped head too large for his neck. He handed me a scroll which I unrolled and read. My orders were to change only one thing in each of the original five manuscripts I wrote. One word, really. I was to add the word "in" to the very last line—the line that concluded each of the princesses' stories. I wouldn't have to revise any other part of the books, nor would I have to add the dreaded epilogue. I loathe epilogues even more than editing. I say if you need to add to the story, then pen a sequel.
But for the purposes of our story, all you need to know is that once upon a time five beautiful princesses ruled the United Kingdoms of Enchantment. Five princesses who presently have no recollection of the royalty they once were, nor the harshness the world imposed on them when they were so very young.
Now, they live far, far away. In a town called Everafter.
Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.
Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
A perennial favorite of readers worldwide, American Gods tells the story of ex-con Shadow Moon, who emerges from prison and is recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday. So begins a dark and strange road trip full of fantastical adventures and a host of eccentric characters. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.
This annotated volume of the Author’s Preferred Text features analysis from Leslie S. Klinger. His trenchant commentary identifies gods and supernatural beings, elucidates key phrases, and shows how Gaiman built his award-winning novel, giving readers unparalleled insight into the story and into Gaiman’s creative process and authorial decisions. Carefully chosen illustrations complement and illuminate the narrative.