The book I didn’t write

I’m cleaning my desk today (because that seemed the thing to do at the start of the year), and in a bin piled high with papers-to-be-filed, I stumbled upon an early attempt at summarizing Thief Eyes, when I was struggling to get a handle on what the story was about.

It’s not the book I wrote. Yet it’s not quite not the book I wrote, either. Mostly, it’s fascinating to see where the intersections are and aren’t, between this very early conception and final story.

On the chance it will amuse someone else or be useful from a process perspective, here it is, with a sideways SPOILER WARNING–because while the things here didn’t happen, but some of them are more similar to the things that did happen than others:


A thousand years ago, Icelanders Hallgerd Hoskuldsdottir and Svan the Sorcerer called up the powers of magic to get Hallgerd out of an arranged marriage. But all magic is tied to the gods and through them to Ragnarok and the end of all things, and when something went wrong with Hallgerd and Svan’s spells, the powers unleashed not only twisted the warp of their own lives, but also threatened to tear their island home in two and pull apart the very ground at their feet.

For a thousand years since then, Hallgerd’s descendants have worked to counteract Hallgerd’s mistake, using their own magic to hold the world together. Only the effects of Hallgerd’s magic have been slowly spreading, and geological and magical hot spots around the world are growing more active. And while it’s easy to believe in magic in Iceland, where the sagas and hidden folk seem but a few breaths away, it’s harder to find help beyond the island’s borders.

American-born Haley knows nothing of this. Her Icelandic mother disappeared years ago; Haley stalks her over the Internet while she travels the world with her geologist father. When her father’s travels bring her back to Iceland, Haley’s notice isn’t drawn so much to the island’s unnstable geology as to the female geologist her father is spending far too much time with. Haley’s determined to keep them apart, and she finds help from a thousand-year-old spirit who has all too much experience breaking marriages and relationships apart. At first Haley’s glad for the help, and she enjoys wielding the heriditary magic that comes surprisingly easily to her hands and to her mind.

Yet there are geological and psychological prices for wielding that magic. In the end Haley’s new-found powers may not be enough to undo the damage she’s set in motion and prevent the end of the world from descending at last. She’ll need to rely on help from Hallgerd’s other descendants around the world–but that means not only contacting Mom, but learning to trust Dad’s new lover, as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *