Everyone knows that if you fall afoul of the People, you must travel the miles to Gyrford, where uncounted generations of fairy-smiths have protected the county with cold iron, good counsel and unvarnished opinions about your common sense.
But shielding the weak from the strong can make enemies. Ephraim Brady has money and power, and the bitter will to hurt those who cross him. And if he can’t touch elder farrier Jedediah Smith, he can harm those the Smiths care about.
The Smiths care about Tobias Ware, born on a night when the blazing fey dog Black Hal roared past the Wares’ gate. Tobias doesn’t understand the language or laws of men, and he can’t keep away from the Bellame woods, where trespass is a hanging offence. If Toby is to survive, he needs protection.
It should be a manageable job. Jedediah Smith has a head on his shoulders, and so too (mostly) does his son Matthew. Only Matthew’s son John has turned out a little . . . uncommon. But he means well.
It wasn’t his fault the bramble bush put on a berry-head and started taking offence. Or that Tobias upset it. But John’s not yet learned that if you follow the things other folk don’t see, they might drag those you love into the path of ruin.