splash brought him whipping about.

A porpoise had leaped over the gunwale.

“What’s an adventure without a smee!” it cried.

Landing heavily, the porpoise slid across the slippery deck until it came to rest against Bob’s foot. When no one spoke, Toby changed back into his native form and gazed about dejectedly.

“You just left,” he sniffed. “You never even asked me if I wanted to go. And then this big galoot comes along and it’s all ‘welcome aboard’ and ‘let me help you with that’!”

Plucking up the smee by one twisty end, Bob began dabbing him gently with a towel.

“What happened to Cloubert’s?” asked Max, sitting down by Scathach. “I thought you were on a big lucky streak.”

“I lied.”

Max opened a nearby crate. “You’re more than welcome to stay, Toby, but you might have to catch your own food. We didn’t pack for a smee.”

“Well, what’s in that box?” demanded the smee, pointing with his head. “I’ll bet there’s plenty of grub in there!”

“There is. But I’m not certain you’d like it.”

Reaching inside the crate, Max selected an iron ingot and laid it on the deck. Something in his pocket stirred, and Max brought it forth. He held it on his palm: a glossy black lump that soon stretched and mewled and cracked a coppery eye.

“Is … is that what I think it is?” asked the smee.

Max smiled. “Her name is Nox, and she’s my charge.”

“You never asked me to be your charge,” the smee observed coldly.

“But you’re not a charge, you’re a spy,” said Max, stroking the lymrill’s quills. “An infiltration specialist, a master of ruse de guerre …

“Quite right,” snorted Toby, promptly ordering Bob to set him upon the sunny deck.

Once placed, the smee stretched, flipped onto his tummy, and launched into an unabridged recitation of his many adventures, intrigues, and scandals. After all, the voyage was long, his audience captive, and the smee most forthcoming.


This guide is to help readers pronounce some of the more challenging names and terms found in the Tapestry. Many of the words are of Irish origin, while others are simply the author’s own creations. Some nuances have been sacrificed in the name of simplicity, and this should not be interpreted as a scholarly work on Irish pronunciation.

Name/Term (Pronunciation) Definition

Atropos (AH-truh-pos) Among the three Greek Fates, Atropos cut the thread of life; the name was adopted by an assassin guild known for its ruthlessness and fanaticism

Bragha Run (BRAH-ga ROON) “The Red Death”; Max McDaniels’s alias in Prusias’s Arena

Brugh na Boinne (BROO na BOYNE) “On the Boyne”; a river in Ireland

Caillech (KAI-luh) “Crone”; the name Deirdre Fallow gives herself when she meets Max McDaniels and David Menlo in the Sidh

Cuchulain (KOO-hull-in) The Hound of Ulster; an Irish hero who was the son of the deity Lugh and a mortal woman

daemona (DAY-moan-uh) The demons’ preferred term for their kind; one that classifies their spiritual essence without automatic association with evil

Emain Macha (EV-in MA-ha) The royal seat of Ulster, northernmost of Ireland’s four ancient kingdoms

Emer (AY-ver) The wife of Cuchulain; also the name of Elias Bram’s daughter

gae bolga (GAY BULL-gah) Cuchulain’s spear, which was forged anew by Max McDaniels and the Fomorian. Its strike is almost always fatal; its wounds never heal.

grylmhoch (GRILLM-hoke) A massive, amorphous creature of unknown origins that Max encounters in Prusias’s Arena

koukerros (koo-KERR-os) The transformation that occurs when a demon has consumed enough souls to become a higher order of spirit

Lugh (LOO) A sun deity; High King of the Tuatha De Danaan, who slew Balor of the Fomorians. Lugh is the father of both Cuchulain and Max McDaniels.

malakhim (MAL-ah-keem) Fallen spirits that wear obsidian masks and serve the demon Prusias

medim (MAY-deem) Ritualized contests that mark important demonic gatherings; the contests include alennya (arts of beauty), amann (arts of blood), and ahulmm (arts of soul)

mehrun (meh-ROON) Demonic word used to classify humans who can use magic

Morrigan (MOH-ree-gan) A Celtic war goddess whose willful and terrifying essence comprises the gae bolga

Rodruban (ROD-roo-vaan) Lugh’s castle and lands within the Sidh

Scathach (SKAW-thah) A warrior maiden originally from Scotland (Isle of Skye) who has trained many heroes, including Cuchulain and Max McDaniels

Sidh (SHEE) A hidden realm home to the Tuatha De Danaan and other magical beings

Solas (SUH-las) Mankind’s greatest school of magic; destroyed by Astaroth in 1649

Tuatha De Danaan (TOO-ha DAY DAN-ahn) The Children of Danu; a race of divine beings that conquered the Fomorians and ruled Ireland before departing for the Sidh

Tur an Ghrian (THOOR un GREE-un) The highest tower at Solas, where the Gwydion Chair of Mystics resided


Many thanks to Random House and Schuyler Hooke for tightening the manuscript and bringing The Maelstrom to fruition. Nicole de las Heras has designed a beautiful book, Cory Godbey has provided another spellbinding cover, and Jocelyn Lange continues to ensure that readers around the world can enjoy Max’s adventures. As always, I’m grateful to Josh Adams and Adams Literary for their professional guidance and support.

Every author is indebted to his predecessors and contemporaries. J. R. R. Tolkien showed me the beauty of building a world. Frank Herbert’s Dune demonstrated the appeal of blending science fiction and fantasy. Ursula K. Le Guin’s words fairly crackle with magic, while Patrick O’Brian is unparalleled at using history and humor to explore the human condition. When it comes to concocting primal, nameless horrors, no one tops H. P. Lovecraft. Bill Bryson’s excellent A Short History of Nearly Everything provided Astaroth’s anecdote regarding the dodo’s extinction and Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia. In addition, William Shakespeare’s plays Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream provided quotations for Toby and Astaroth, while the smee also recited a stanza from William Cullen Bryant’s lovely poem “The Gladness of Nature.” James Joyce’s brilliant Finnegans Wake provided Ghollah’s creative twist on the days of the week. And, of

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