My brother lent me this book, and, having just finished it, I'm going to buy my own copy and read it again. Earthquake Weather is about the magic in the Land, expressed through our relationship with archetypal forces, and our relationship with wine as a sacramental substance. I must admit I came to this book as something of a Tim Powers fan; his 'Drawing of the Dark' also relates to the power of the Fisher King. Earthquake Weather is set in California. The basic plot concerns an attempt to capture a magical Kingship, and the struggle to keep that flame alive. The King is personally responsible for the health of the Land, and as we all know, wherever light is strongest, there the forces of darkness gather most thickly to oppose it. Earthquake Weather is a more mature book; Powers' understanding and handling of the archetypes has broadened and deepened since 'Drawing of the Dark', and to my mind his decision to leave out some of the other characters involved in the grail cycle, notably an explicit 'Arthur' adds to the mix. The great beauty of this is that it works on a variety of levels. At the most basic, it's just simply well written, compelling you to turn the pages and find out what happens next, insistent without being too predictable. At the most complex, it uses magical symbolism to comment on Life, Death, Redemption and Atonement. I think it a matter of some regret that this book will be condemned to suffer as 'fantasy'. It's more than that. If you're looking for some regurgitated Tolkein, look somewhere else. This does not take place in a kingdom with elves and goblins, or involve some bloke with a magic sword. Don't get me wrong, Tolkein dealt with myth directly, and also effectively re-interpreted the archetypes for the modern age, but too many post-Tolkein imitators have felt the need to populate their mythical kingdoms with elves, dwarves and assorted nasties with the same characteristics, and re-write the hero quest. Earthquake Weather takes place in a thoroughly modern, even gritty, setting, where some individuals have a more sophisticated awareness, either a psychic or spiritual capacity, to interact with forces that magicians have believed in, and psychotherapists have termed archetypes, for real. You don't have to belive in ghosts, magic or legend to appreciate this book, but you will understand better if you do. The characters are more three dimensional, and because of that, more easy to relate to on a personal, as well as an archetypal, level. Which brings me to the only (mild) flaw in the fabric. Powers relentlessly mixes his systems, hopping easily from western mythology through transplanted Greek and classical hermeticism, adding some voodoo here and pschosynthesis here. It becomes a bit breathless, particularly if you have not got a magical background. There's no sense of conflict in setting Dyonysius in California, even though the native Gods would probably have resented the intrusion, and if you read the book carefully, you could be forgiven for wondering why there is nothing on the scale of the San Andreas fault running through Mediterranean Europe. These (minor) issues aside, though, it deserves to be compared to mainstream novels, not relegated to a genre. By those standards, this is a great book.