Emma Bull,
Finder: A Novel
of the Borderlands

(Tor, 1994)

Life in the Borderlands, where technology and magic mix, is certainly interesting. Created when Elfland returned to the world, the Border is a chancy place where sometimes an engine will work and sometimes it won't. Sometimes a gun will shoot and sometimes it won't. But magic always works.

In Bordertown, a city near the Border between the World and Elfland, many of the people, both human and elf, have come to escape their pasts. One such is Orient, whose talent for finding lost things estranged him from his parents. Another is Sunny Rico, a cop. When Rico asks Orient to help her out by finding a drug-runner's murderer, he enters a world even more dangerous than Bordertown can be for the unwary. Nearly blown up not once but several times, Orient finds himself unable to walk away from the puzzle when given the chance, not even when his best friend Tick-Tick comes down with the mysterious epidemic sweeping through the elven population of Bordertown. Worse even than that, he's falling in love with Sunny Rico.

The Borderlands were originally created by Terri Windling, and it seems to me that she took the idea introduced at the end of Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter of the Elflands returning and flowing across mundane lands, and ran like hell with it. The result is an amazing mix of the fantastic and the mundane. There are several anthologies in the series, and at least two other novels, Elsewhere and Nevernever by Will Shetterly, Emma Bull's husband. It is not necessary to have read any of the other Borderlands tales to enjoy Finder, but I'm definitely adding them to my list.

Finder is a fast-paced novel with an engaging blend of mystery and urban fantasy that will keep you turning pages; I know I did.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

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