There are stories that matter.
There are stories that shape the world.
There are writers who long to tell them.
And, disillusioned and bereft, there is a place they go to write them.
But the Library Beneath the Streets will not allow just anyone to enter its halls and learn the art.
D’shall the story thief thinks he has all he needs to plunder the library for the tales that will make him famous, but there are forces at work deep in the stacks of abandoned manuscripts that will all come together at the command of the ancient and crafty Librarian. Along the way, D’shall will pick up such tales as:
• The Snowflake Collector, in which a father collects the messages in snowflakes dropped by his departed child;
• The Black Squirrel, a suicide note and a confession by a troubled young student influenced by forces more real yet greater than he;
• The Miasmatist, which shows a whole new use for the dead;
• More Full of Weeping, in which well-meaning parents imprison their daughter to prevent her from entering the place all children must inevitably go;
• For Love of the Dreadful Night, which takes place in a future where the maudlin and desperate are demonized as exhibiting perverted behavior;
D’shall believes himself to be the cleverest story thief who ever lived, happily indifferent to the forces that shaped the Library. Its influence is subtle, its hostility opaque, and before the end of his heist, D’shall will be left in no doubt of the price of circumnavigating creativity.
All that happens to him may be part of a greater machination perpetrated by the wraithlike Librarian who made this place away from the world.
Or it may be a reaction, too subtle to notice, of the particular stories D’shall chooses to take and bind into a manuscript.
Then again, it may only be chance, or karma, or any and every of the myriad explanations applied to the Powers That May.
Do not doubt that there are such powers; and however indirectly, D’shall will earn their attention.