The unlikely three companions who set out on a journey down the mountain have no idea of the dangers which await them on the road. Cyrus, a wizened woodsman and elder who tends the orchard, and Angel, who gathers and sows her colorful seeds, start off together on their quest in pursuit of the thief who has removed a tree from the orchard. Loss of the tree prevents a young girl from crossing over from this side of the realm to the next life. Her future remains in jeopardy without the guardian who resides within the tree. When they stop for rest and refreshment at a way station for boys, Carpenter, a young man captivated by Angel’s violet eyes, joins them from The Swing Zone where a lively game of baseball is in play.
Along their journey down the mountain, the trio encounters strange and deadly beasts, language barriers, an old world silk production enterprise, strong river currents, hunger, fatigue and determination. Spreading their talents and treasures with those along the trail, the trip requires ingenuity and perseverance on the part of all three who seek this missing tree.
The thief, a wily peddler named Seede, is ruthless in his treatment of those along his path, leaving behind, a trail of anguish, deception and loss. His eventual destination, to the Castel Mansion, is littered with remorseless acts for which he is well-known. His solicitor, Captain Castel, is willing to go to any means to cure his terminally ill daughter, including that of employing a hardened criminal to bring him what is required.
The story, an allegory of life, with its perils and pitfalls, moves along with a descriptive charm likened to fairy tales of old. There are strange inventions, tree houses, antique carvings, and games for children who await their final destination across the river on the other side.
Mike Friedman, beloved author of The Carriage Driver and the Emerald Wells Café series, along with a vast collection of short stories, weaves a web of intrigue, suspense and satisfaction within these too few pages of Braids – Angel’s Field. His charming illustrations and imagination made me wish for more tales of adventure by this trio and other memorable characters peppered throughout the story.