Dana Hathaway – The book is told from Dana’s point of view. She is a “Faeriewalker” – which is someone who can move between Faerie and Avalon and bring technology into Faerie and magic into the human world. As a result, all the political factions want her for their own purposes. We also know that there is something special about her having to do with her ability to sense the buildup of magic.
Ethan – A member of the UnSeelie faction. An 18 yr old Fae who is attending Avalon U in Avalon. He seems to have some sort of attachment to Dana but it is unclear which side he is really on. He is a magical prodigy and a contentious relationship with Kimber as a result.
Kimber – Ethan’s younger sister. She says early on that she got the brains and Ethan got the magical ability. She has formed a close friendship with Dana.
Keane – Finn’s son. He is teaching Dana some basic self-defense and seems to not really care much what his father thinks.
Finn – a Knight of Faerie. Serves as Dana’s protector An imposing man, who take quite a beating to protect Dana. He doesn’t speak much but Dana seems to like him.
Seamus Stuart – Dana’s father. Brutally honest with Dana and very powerful. And he’s a Sidhe (Fae aristocracy) who is a potential candidate for Counsul, which politically speaking seems to be a really big deal. Although we don’t get a ton of detail as to why. He is bent on protecting Dana, but it is unclear if it is really for her own good or because he needs her.
Aunt Grace – Seamus’ sister. She is out to get and use Dana for her own purposes.
Lachlan – A troll of some sort who had a relationship with Aunt Grace before she fled a the end of Glimmerglass. He often serves as an alternate or second when Finn is protecting Dana outside the safehouse.
Alistair – Kimber and Ethan’s father.
Cathy Hathaway – Dana’s mom. She’s unstable and an alcoholic. She apparently grew up in Avalon and Seamus thinks this might be part of why she became an alcoholic, since it is so hard for people to adjust to living outside of Avalon if they have spent their lives in Avalon. She’s been declared legally incompetent at the end of Glimmerglass and is staying in Seamus’ home in Avalon. She still doesn’t admit she has a drinking problem.
Arwain, the Erlking. The only King of Faeirie. He is in charge of the Wild Hunt. Everyone is afraid of him. He has permission to kill those Fae the Queens order him to and those the Queens grant permission for. He can not attack in Avalon unless he is attacked first. He is immortal and apparently indestructible. We hear a story that he was once beheaded, simply picked his head up and put it back on his head. There was an agreement between the Erlking and the Queens long ago that restricted his ability to hunt but there is a “geis” (like a gag order) which is magically enforced prohibiting people from discussing the agreement and what the Erlking got out of the deal restricting him so.
Connor: A member of the Erlking’s Wild Hunt and Seamus’ son. His mother was Tatiana (one of the Queens). We don’t see much about him, but he becomes part of the deal Dana strikes with the Erlking.
Main Premise: After the end of Glimmerglass, Dana has been moved to a safe house. She’s resisting Ethan’s advances, but trying to have a semi-normal life. She continues to train with Keane. Mom is still under house arrest too. On an outing Dana sees the Erlking for the first time. Everyone is totally panic stricken and Dana’s father warns Dana about him. Dana is put under even more severe house restrictions because of the Erlking’s presence in Avalon. One night, with Keane’s help, she sneaks out to Kimber’s birthday party. Dana is very upset when she see Ethan dancing with another girl.
On another outing with Kimber, Kimber sets it up so that Ethan can meet them because he wants to talk to Dana. While sitting outside of a coffee place, the Erlking comes along and tricks Ethan into attacking him. As a result, Ethan ends up being taken by the Erlking and becomes a member of the Wild Hunt. Dana and Kimber desperate to rescue Ethan hatch a plan.
Dana is sent a gift from the Erlking to help her sneak out to meet him so they can negotiate for Ethan’s release. It is a broach that makes her completely invisible and unnoticeable, even if she walked into someone. When they meet, Dana makes her proposal. However, the Erlking rejects Dana’s proposal and makes a counteroffer. The counteroffer is that if Dana gives the Erlking her virginity, he will release Ethan from the Wild Hunt. Dana, without knowing the consequences of agreeing (although she knows there will be some, she just doesn’t know what they are), she agrees, provided Ethan and Connor are released. The Erlking agrees to release at the time of the bargain and Connor is when the deal is complete.
The Erlking seals the deal with a kiss. And Dana is strangely attracted to him. He also tries to convince her that he too wants to protect her. Ethan is released. Dana won’t reveal the terms of the bargain, claiming a geis is preventing her from doing so. He releases Ethan from the Wild Hunt, but it is discovered that while Ethan no longer is bound to hunt, he is still bound to the Erlking.
This fact is revelaed when Dana goes to visit him, using the broach again. On the way back, since Dana didn’t tell Ethan about the broach, they encounter Aunt Grace (who we knew was still after Dana because of the impostor who was glammoured to look like Lachlan at one point, but no real harm came of that). Dana attempts to use magic and while it doesn’t appear that she succeeded, it turns out that her use of magic probably lead to stripping Aunt Grace’s immortality from her. The Erlking finishes her off, but tells Dana that he didn’t have to because of that. He warns Dana of attempting to do the same to him. And he warns Dana of revealing what she learned from Aunt Grace just prior to Grace’s death.
What we learned – the consequences of Dana’s bargain is that the Erlking, when consummating the deal, will get all of Dana’s powers. Dana will be stripped of everything she is. Grace can talk about it because she severed her ties to her court since she had nothing left to loose. Dana, as a result, also learns that he father could have warned her of all the details, had his allegiance to his court not been so important (he could have severed ties to his court too, but he didn’t).
Meanwhile, this incident also leads to Dana using the broach a 3rd time, and in doing so, binding herself to the Erlking. He tells her he can no find her anywhere. She gets mad about his failure to tell her that the broach works that way. Dana is quickly learning (and hopefully she doesn’t forget in the next book) that the Fae don’t share much, mean things very literally, and have no second thoughts about omitting information if it will let them manipulate the situation (and the people in the situation) they way they want.
Locations: Avavlon, which is like the Vatican, in that it is within England but is it’s own sovereign nation. It is the only place on earth where the human world borders Faerie.
Other important things to remember later: Kimber likes Keane. Ethan and Dana are going to be together as much as they can, even though Dana can’t really “be with” Ethan. Dana now has a small stag tattooed on her shoulder as she is bound to the Erlking. Ethan still isn’t really right. Connor is still in services to the Erlking. Grace is dead. Seamus must know what the deal was that Dana struck since while bound by the geis, he is aware of the purpose of it. The Erlking mentions how easy and quickly Dana can come to care about someone. And there appears to be much more to Dana’s abilities regarding magic, including the ability to make a Fae mortal.