The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers "one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language" Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago--and the Duke of Dorimare along with them. Until the spring of his fiftieth year, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist and High Seneschal of Dorimare, had lived a sleepy life with his only son, Ranulph. But as he grew, Ranulph was more and more fond of talking nonsense about golden cups, and snow-white ladies milking azure cows, and the sound of tinkling bridles at midnight. And when Ranulph was twelve, he got caught up with the fairies, and Nathaniel's life would never be the same.
Lud-in-the-Mist, the capital city of the small country Dorimare, is a port at the confluence of two rivers, the Dapple and the Dawl. The Dapple has its origin beyond the Debatable Hills to the west of Lud-in-the-Mist, in Fairyland. In the days of Duke Aubrey, some centuries earlier, fairy things had been look upon with reverence, and fairy fruit was brought down the Dapple and enjoyed by the people of Dorimare. But after Duke Aubrey had been expelled from Dorimare by the burghers, the eating of fairy fruit came to be regarded as a crime, and anything related to the Fairyland was unspeakable. Now, when his son Ranulph is believed to have eaten fairy fruit, Nathaniel Chanticleer, the mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, finds himself looking into old mysteries in order to save his son and the people of the city.
The town of Lud is a prosperous, bustling little country port, situated at the confluence of two rivers: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie beyond the Elfin Marches and the Debatable Hills, is a source of great trial to Lud, which had long rejected such fanciful nonsense as fairies, elves and the like. Then a perfect plague of faerie influences hits the town, penetrating even to Miss Primrose Crabapple's Establishment for Young Ladies, and it becomes apparent to even the stuffiest burgher that Steps Would Have To Be Taken. Fortunately for everyone, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud, is a man with his head firmly in the clouds . . .
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