This novel, by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is a wondrous tale of magic, fairies, growing up, heroism, and baseball. Michael's Chabon's "vague dreams" of being a writer began when he was reading J.R.R. Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander. His latest book (a fantasy for all ages) is set against a background of American myth.
It's summer, and the Clam Island fairies, or "ferishers," as the North American Fair Folk call themselves, are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict, a struggle against the Fell Smith and his power of Anti-life. He and his host of demon engineers, kobolds, and warriors have sought to destroy the fairies since time began. When the Clam Island band sends for a champion, they get an 11-year-old boy named Ethan Feld.
Ethan hates baseball and wants to quit his losing team, the Beavers. Jennifer T. Rideout loves baseball and won't let him quit. As the two are tested, various characters and places figure in the action: "werefoxes", Indians and Indian mythology, sasquatches, "wendigos", Alaska, and the haunted, 161-year-old husk of George Armstrong Custer. A widower's heart heals as his airship conquers the northern sky. A burned-out Colombian slugger finds redemption. Jennifer T. turns out to be a champion, too, and Ethan becomes who he is: a changeling, a hero, and even a man.