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The Autumn Castle
Kim Wilkins
Warner Aspect, 435 pages

The Autumn Castle
Kim Wilkins
Kim Wilkins was born in London, and moved to Australia when she was four. She attended university receiving an English degree with first class honours, a university medal, and an M.A. in creative writing. A Ph.D. is in progress. In 1997, her first novel, The Infernal, was published. It won the 1997 Aurealis Awards for best horror novel, and best fantasy novel. She lives in Brisbane with her family.

Kim Wilkins Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Autumn Castle

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alisa McCune

The Autumn Castle, first in the Europa series is a fascinating urban fantasy from Australian author Kim Wilkins. I highly recommend this wonderfully imaginative series.

The Autumn Castle introduces us to a group of artist who are currently working under a fellowship which allows them to live at the Hotel Mandy Z. in Berlin, Germany. The fellowship is through a very eccentric artist, Immanuel Zweigler, whom everyone calls Mandy Z. Jude, one of the artists, lives with his girlfriend, Christine Starlight. Christine is an American who lived in Berlin as a child. The artists are rounded out by Gerda, Pete, and Fabiyan.

Christine has had a very difficult life. While living in Berlin, she befriended a neighbor child everyone called little May. May and Christine were inseparable. One night, May disappeared and was presumed dead. Christine and her parents moved back to America shortly after May's disappearance. In 1989, Christine lost her parents in a horrific car accident that left her with horrid injuries. The car accident was caused by another driver who never even paused to see if anyone survived. Life was bleak for Christine until Jude appeared in her life like a knight in shinning armor.

Mandy Z. is a very complex and creepy man. He is a world renowned sculptor and is also color blind. Along with being incredibly wealthy, he is also an insane sociopath. He is secretly working on a bizarre sculpture he calls the Bone Wife. This sculpture is not made of marble or any other stone, but of fairy bones. Mandy Z. has a unique gift that allows him to know when a person is really a Fairy.

One fateful day, Christine injures herself and is transported to Ewigkreis, Fairyland. In this strange land, Christine encounters a talking fox named Eisengrimm and the Fairy Queen. Queen Mayfridh is Christine's childhood friend, May. As children, they performed a 'blood bond' that allowed Christine to enter Ewigkreis. One characteristic of Fairyland makes residents forget about humans and our world once the seasons change. Queen Mayfridh is amazed and intrigued to be reunited with her friend Christine. After Christine returns to the real world, Mayfridh longs for all she lost when she entered Ewigkreis. Soon a plan is hatched to allow Mayfridh to visit the world she left as a child.

The residents of Hotel Mandy Z. are on a collision course with Mayfridh. She brings out many dark secrets and tempts Mandy Z. to commit unspeakable acts. Mayfridh's visit brings all these horrors and many more to pass. Christine, Jude, and the rest are never the same again.

Kim Wilkins has created an incredible tale of morality and madness to delight. Her characters are rich and multidimensional. The plot does seem to lag at times, but that is a result of dealing with character development. We get to know the residents of Hotel Mandy Z. and Ewigkreis very intimately. The twists and turns created in the plot are amazing in their ingenuity. This is not a typical fairy tale nor is it a typical fantasy. At the end, Wilkins treats us to a real fairy tale that closes the plot in such a way that you crave more.

Copyright © 2005 Alisa McCune

Alisa discovered science fiction at the tender age of eight. She devoured The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and never looked back. She lives in Chicago with her husband, cat, and 5000 books. For more information please visit her website at

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