The Gusty Deep is an epic monster-tale that pokes holes between world ages and lets them chatter to one another through a keyhole in the moss. In this very adult faerie-tale, twelfth-century Britain descends into the chaos of The Anarchy. Lux, daughter of the surviving member of the Green Children of Woolpit, narrowly escapes a forced marriage with a stranger, a way-faring man called Robin Goodfellow. He takes Lux back to his band of Others—the queer, the whores, and the witches—together, can they save the land, its resources, and their very right to exist as the world slips into civil war?
Robin and his kinsfolk seemed to know every path in England, every short cut or long way round, every nasty rutted backstreet or crooked back alley. They seemed to know people when it came to the maritime world. People recognised Robin everywhere they went. Both the crew of the ship, the ferryman and the owner of the rooms they were staying at were to be trusted, he said. Lux had no idea how it
could be safe to be with a man with a face so many people knew, but there was nothing to do for it.
When they were finally behind closed doors Lux pulled back her hood and turned to Robin. "I'm not as dull-witted as most people in this world, you know?"
"I wouldn't have taken you with me if you were," Robin replied quietly, his back still to her and his hood still up while he disarmed himself and threw his weapon belt onto the one bed in the room. Blaith was hungry and had gone in search of provisions.
"Yet you think I can't see what's going on? That mark that you and Blaith have on your little finger, the woman who just gave us this room had the same mark on her hand."
"You've got good observation skills for a Settler," was all he said, taking a seat on the bed. "Tell me what's going on then." He sat there looking at her with his arms crossed.
Lux frowned. She could sense the mild challenge in his tone and didn't quite know how to respond to it. "Well…" she hesitated for a moment but his gaze hadn't shifted from her eyes. He was clearly wait- ing and possibly even assessing her. "It's perfectly clear that you are… some kind of criminal network or…"
"Or?" he prompted, and his eyebrows rose.
"Or you're rebels, people trying to start a revolt to take back con- trol of the country."
"Or witches! Or a little of all of those three."
Robin smiled then. It was a slow mysterious, gradually kindling
sort of smile. For a moment it made Lux wonder whether it was time to run. She had taken him for somewhere between nineteen and twenty-three but when he looked like that he seemed far more knowing than he had a right to be.
"A little of each perhaps."
"Witches also?" the word was a bit of a hiss, hardly over a whisper.
She had been taught always to emphasize the difference between faer- ies, the folk who worked with them, and witches.
Robin neither confirmed nor denied just continued to look fixed- ly at Lux, never moving. "You know who I am, Lux. You said the name three times in all. And I came for you, just like the stories say."
"That was just panic. Some superstitious streak in me from early childhood must have risen to the fore. I was terrified and in shock, I wasn't really trying to invoke the d…"
He grinned again, his eyes twinkling with something between dark humour and some fiercer emotion she couldn't name. "Go on, say it. The sooner you get that word out of the way between us the more we're going to like each other."
The challenge in his eyes and tone was clear. She paused for a long time as she looked back at him, meeting his gaze and not letting herself drop her eyes. "Devil."