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Mulengro
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Mulengro

5.0 3
by Charles de Lint
 

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A tale of magic and murder

The increasingly bizarre murders have baffled the police—but each death is somehow connected with the city's elusive Gypsy community. The police are searching for a human killer, but the Romany know better. They know the name of the darkness that hunts them down, one by one: Mulengro.

Overview

A tale of magic and murder

The increasingly bizarre murders have baffled the police—but each death is somehow connected with the city's elusive Gypsy community. The police are searching for a human killer, but the Romany know better. They know the name of the darkness that hunts them down, one by one: Mulengro.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There is no better writer now than Charles de Lint at bringing out the magic in everyday life.” —Orson Scott Card

“In de Lint's capable hands, modern fantasy becomes something other than escapism. It becomes folk song, the stuff of urban myth.” —The Phoenix Gazette

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312873998
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
12/01/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.89(d)

Read an Excerpt

One

Janfri Yayal watched his house burn down without expression.
The two-story, wood-frame structure was beyond rescue. Flames leapt half its height into the night skies. Smoke erupted from windows and eaves, roiling upward like a ghost escaping the doomed flesh of its host body. A gasp came from the watching crowd as a section of roof collapsed in a shower of sparks. The firemen pulled back, all too aware of how ineffectual their efforts were at this point. Janfri's only response was a nerve that twitched in his cheek.
The red light of the flames and the glare of the rotating beacons on the police cars and fire trucks flickered across his dark skin, highlighting the strong features set in their mask of indifference. He was oblivious to the growing crowd of thrill-seekers who jostled for position against the hastily-erected barricades that the police had set up. He watched the home he'd known for three years burning and remembered other fires. Not the cook and camp fires of his childhood, nor the pleasant crack and spit of seasoned wood burning in a stone hearth. Instead his mind thrust up memories of a man set afire and the crowd around him, jeering and laying wagers as to how long he would live. Of the wagons of his parents and grandparents and others of their kumpania burning in the night. Of the men who wore the four-armed symbol of the swastika and set countries alight with the same single-minded purpose with which they burned Gypsy wagons.
But there were no swastikas here. It was another symbol that had erased the expression from Janfri's features. He had seen it on the wall of his home before the flames and smoke took it from his sight--a scrawl of black paint that was meaningless to the Gaje, the non-Gypsies, but that he understood with a bleak emptiness. It meant marhime. Ceremonially defiled. Unclean. It was a message from another Rom to him that there was no welcome among the Gypsies for a Rom who had become too Gaje. And yet, though he understood, he could not believe that one of his people could have done such a thing. Such a display of violence was not the way of the Rom. One who was marhime was not tolerated in the company of o phral, the true Rom. He was ostracized from every facet of Rom society, but he was not treated with violence. Or fire.
And yet…He had seen the symbol, the black paint with the excess liquid dripping from its lines like drops of blood; and who else but a Rom knew that he was one of their own? Who else but a Rom would know the secret patrin and defile the wall of his home with it?
"Jesus, John," a voice said in hushed tones at his side. "You've lost everything."
Janfri's companion knew him as John Owczarek--one of Janfri's Gaje names. Like all Gypsies, Janfri used and discarded names as a Gajo might a suit of clothes. Only the other Rom of his kumpania knew him as Janfri la Yayal--Janfri son of Yayal--and they were most likely to call him by his nickname, o Boshbaro, "the Big Fiddle," for his skill on the instrument that was at this moment tucked under his arm, forgotten. To Rom who didn't know him as well he was simply Boshengro, "the fellow who plays the fiddle."
"I sure as hell hope you've got enough insurance to cover it," Tom Shaw added. He glanced at Janfri's face, puzzled by his friend's lack of emotion. It had to be shock, he decided, because the stiff lack of response he saw in Janfri's features simply didn't jibe with the man Tom knew him to be. The John Owczarek that Tom knew was expansive in his moods, apt to gigantic joys and sorrows.
Tom stood a half head taller than his friend. He was a burly six-two, barrel-chested and meaty. Amongst the Gypsies, his size would label him as an important man, for they judged importance by size as well as other attributes. He was forty-seven this summer, which made him Janfri's elder by two years.
"John…" he tried again, touching his friend's arm. The wiry muscles were stiff under the light cloth of Janfri's coat.
The Gypsy turned slowly to regard him. "Yekka buliasa nashti beshes pe done grastende," he said softly. Forgetting himself, he spoke Romany. With one behind you cannot sit on two horses. He saw the puzzlement rise in Tom's eyes, but made no attempt to explain. Let Tom think he spoke Hungarian. But the old saying rang all too true in his own mind. One was either Rom or Gajo. There was no in between.
"Listen, John," Tom said. "If you want a place to stay…?"
Janfri shook his head. His dark features were pained now. A fire smoldered in the depths of his eyes that were such a dark brown they were almost black.
"There is no John Owczarek," he said. He turned and, before Tom could stop him, disappeared into the crowd.
For a long moment Tom stood in shock. The noise of the crowd seemed to grow louder. The roar of the flames and the pushing, jostling bodies around him combined to throw off his sense of the here and now. The night was abruptly surreal, filled with strangeness and menace. A chill traveled up his spine. He stared into the crowd, trying to see what had become of his friend.
"John!" he cried. "John!"
But the night had swallowed up the man he knew as John Owczarek as completely as though he had never existed.

Copyright © 1985 by Charles de Lint

Meet the Author

Born in Holland in 1951, Charles de Lint grew up in Canada, with a few years off in Turkey, Lebanon, and Switzerland.

Although his first novel was 1984's The Riddle of the Wren, it was with Moonheart, published later that same year, that de Lint made his mark, and established him at the forefront of "urban fantasy," modern fantasy storytelling set on contemporary city streets. Moonheart was set in and around "Newford," an imaginary modern North American city, and many of de Lint's subsequent novels have been set in Newford as well, with a growing cast of characters who weave their way in and out of the stories. The Newford novels include Spirit Walk, Memory and Dream, Trader, Someplace To Be Flying, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and Spirits in the Wires. In addition, de Lint has published several collections of Newford short stories, including Moonlight and Vines, for which he won the World Fantasy Award. Among de Lint's many other novels are Mulengro, Jack the Giant-Killer, and The Little Country.

Married since 1980 to his fellow musician MaryAnn Harris, Charles de Lint lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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Mulengro 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
bgdave More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent story from a master. The Gypsy lore and magic connection to the story made a strong impact on my reading. There are engaging characters, ghosts, magic and murder. It's a fine blend. The story was written in the 1980's so there are a few discordant notes. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago