A Green and Ancient Light

Set in a world similar to our own, during a war that parallels World War II, A Green and Ancient Light is the stunning story of a boy who is sent to stay with his grandmother for the summer in a serene fishing village. Their tranquility is shattered by the crash of a bullet-riddled enemy plane, the arrival of grandmother’s friend Mr. Girandole—a man who knows the true story of Cinderella’­s slipper—and the discovery of a riddle in the sacred grove of ruins behind grandmother’s house. In a sumptuous idyllic setting and overshadowed by the threat of war, four unlikely allies learn the values of courage and sacrifice.


“The prose is frequently as beautiful as the images it evokes [...] This gentle, engaging, and very personal coming-of-age story is mythic in its universality.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“This is a magical book that will appeal to those who loved Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and John Connolly’s THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS.”

Library Journal, Starred Review

“Durbin’s rhythmic prose and carefully honed imagery are so engrossing, I was completely disoriented by the sound of an elevator dinging outside my apartment in the midst of reading. The green of the forest—the leafy canopy and trickles of light through the branches—evoke a tangible atmosphere unlike any other book I’ve read this year.”

Chicago Review of Books

“Frederic S. Durbin’s A GREEN AND ANCIENT LIGHT. is a charming tale that combines fantasy and history into a quiet yet suspenseful story about a boy’s wartime summer in a small coastal town [...] Fans of fantasy authors such as Patricia McKillip will find a rewarding read.”

The Missourian

“A GREEN AND ANCIENT LIGHT combines beautiful writing, [...] romance, war, mystery, and faery fantasy into one compelling, delightful story suitable for grownup or not so grownup readers alike. Read on!”

Champaign News-Gazette

“Within a few pages, I found myself disarmed in a way I hadn’t been since my childhood, in the days when I routinely gave myself over to a book with full trust in the author to pilot my craft to its destination. Durbin earns this trust with a potent combination of lucid prose, tender introspection, and life-and-death suspense. A Green and Ancient Light is an intensely personal story that unfolds with the soft-focus nostalgia of a remembered childhood summer, but beneath its velvety surface hides a double-edged tale of political urgency and unyielding love. Some readers have compared it to Gaiman or Connolly, but I am taken back further, to Lewis and L’Engle. This is the sort of book a bright child might adore at age 10, then read again at 20, and at 40, to discover the layers she missed.”

Mishell Baker, author of BORDERLINE