The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Jack the Giant-Killer is one of several novels in the Fairy Tale Series created for Ace and later for Tor. This Charles de Lint novel, published by Ace, is an early book in the collection. Each novel is written by a different author and is a twentieth century retelling of a classic tale.

The basis of this novel is the trickster Jack of Scottish folklore. The heroine of Jack the Giant-Killer is Jacky Rowan, an ordinary woman living a commonplace life, one so ordinary that her boyfriend leaves her for being too predictable. Jacky despairs of doing anything meaningful with her life until she finds a strange red cap in Windsor Park. When she wears it, she sees into the parallel world of Faery, on which the mundane world is superimposed. In this magical realm, she learns that the benevolent Seelie Court of Faery is threatened. The Lairds daughter Lorana has been captured by Gyre the Elder, the giant who rules the evil Unseelie Court. Without Loranas magic, the Seelie Court is helpless. No one has tried to rescue her: The Unseelie Court is too strong, and the Seelie Courts greatest wizard, the Gruagagh, is kept in his tower for his own protection. Jacky decides to help the Seelie Court in the hope that this quest will give her life meaning.

Confronting the Gruagagh, she volunteers to capture the Horn used by Gyre to control his army, the Wild Hunt, which can then aid Loranas rescue. Although the Gruagagh warns Jacky that she must not underestimate the risk of entering Giants Keep to steal the Horn, he...

(The entire section is 630 words.)