The Deep Woods

by Tim Pratt
Release date: March 2015
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy

A novella. Cover art by Galen Dara.

All Ryan wanted to do is stay inside on an autumn day and play his favorite fantasy roleplaying video game, Wild Hunt Online, where he creeps through dark forests hunting magical creatures and dodging malevolent monsters. But his parents send him out to get some fresh air, and he wanders into the scraggly patch of woods behind his house. (Yeah, right — Hey, Ryan... don’t do it! Nah, they never listen, do they!) And when Ryan strays from the path, the familiar forest is transformed into a world of dark wonders even stranger than the one in his game.

Ryan encounters a peculiar boy named Silas, who seems to come from another time, and who claims he's been trapped in those deep woods for a long time — and now Ryan's trapped, too. They both have one chance to escape, or be trapped in the woods forever. They join forces to face terrible giants, mysterious witches, and stranger creatures from the dark side of Faerie, combining Ryan's sense of strategy with Silas's long familiarity with the dangers of the wood... and forging an unlikely friendship in the process.

(updated 2017-01-16)

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