And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
—T. S. Eliot/The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
A ll of us have our little problems and insecurities. I’m no different. Back in high school when I used to feel insecure about something, I would console myself with two thoughts: I’m pretty, and my parents love me. Between those two, I could survive anything.
Since then I’ve come to understand how little the former matters, and how bitterly the latter can be tested. What’s left then? Nothing about our appearance or who loves or hates us. Nothing about our brainpower—which, like beauty, is an unearned gift of genetics—nor even anything about what we say.
It’s our actions that define us. What we choose. What we resist. What we’re willing to die for.
My name is MacKayla Lane. I think. Some say my last name is really O’Connor. That’s another of my insecurities right now: who I am. Although, at the moment, I’m in no hurry to find out. What I am is disturbing enough.
I’m from Ashford, Georgia. I think. Lately I’ve realized I have some tricky memories I can’t quite sort through.
I’m in Ireland. When my sister, Alina, was found dead in a trash-filled alley on Dublin’s north side, the local police closed her case in record time, so I flew over to see what I could do about getting justice.
Okay, so maybe I’m not that pure.
What I really came over for was revenge. And now, after everything I’ve seen, I want it twice as bad.
I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who would get married in a few years, have babies, and settle down to a life of sipping sweet tea on a porch swing under the shade of waxy-blossomed magnolias, raising our children together near Mom and Dad and each other.
Then I discovered Alina and I descend not from good, wholesome southern stock but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae, a terrifying race of otherworldly beings that have lived secretly among us for thousands of years, cloaked in illusions and lies. Governed loosely by a queen, and even more loosely by a Compact few support and many ignore, they have preyed on humans for millennia.
Supposedly I’m one of the most powerful sidhe-seers ever born. Not only can I see the Fae, I can sense their sacred relics that hold the deadliest and most powerful of their magic.
I can find them.
I can use them.
I’ve already found the mythic Spear of Luin, one of only two weapons capable of killing an immortal Fae. I’m also a Null—a person who can temporarily freeze a Fae and cancel out its power with the mere touch of my hands. It helps me kick butt when I need to, and lately, every time I turn around, I need to.
My world began falling apart with the death of my sister, and hasn’t stopped since. And it’s not just my world that’s in trouble; it’s your world, too.
The walls between Man and Faery are coming down.
I don’t know why or how. I only know they are. I know it in my sidhe-seer blood. On a dark Fae wind, I taste the metallic tang of a bloody and terrible war coming. In the distant air, I hear the thunderclap of sharp-bladed hooves as Fae stallions circle impatiently, ready to charge down on us in the ancient, forbidden Wild Hunt.
I know who killed my sister. I’ve stared into the murderous eyes of the one who seduced, used, and destroyed her. Not quite Fae, not quite human, he calls himself the Lord Master, and he’s been opening portals between realms, bringing Unseelie through to our world.