Thompson has provided a sequel to the quietly intriguing and award-winning The New Policeman, a contemporary fantasy concerning a young Irish fiddler’s adventures in Tir na n’Og. In the latest book, JJ Liddy has grown up as feckless as ever, and is struggling to keep his family together on the proceeds of his musicianship while he awaits, year after year, a promised delivery of magical violin wood from fairyland.
Meanwhile, his 11-year-old daughter Jenny wanders the Burren mountains barefoot when she should be at school. She befriends a ghost who has guarded a beacon for thousands of years, the site of a truce between humans and the nature gods who created the earth. Then she discovers that the patience of the nature gods is exhausted, and only her own elven ingenuity and recourse to help from fairyland can avert the demise of humanity.
This sounds like the flimsiest of farragos, but Thompson’s brilliantly low key writing embroiders these flights of fancy into the earthy warp and weft of family life and landscape, all beautifully described in a way that relates the fantastical to everyday issues of ecological and social responsibility. A familiarity with The New Policeman would help your enjoyment of this book, and the publishers have provided the first few chapters here as an appendix.