A glorious cast of animals and birds, as well as humans, relate magical stories in this extraordinary novel. An old lady, Misia, tells how the 300 ravens of Xallas are the warrior-poets of the last king of Galacia. A priest, Don Xil, explains to a pesant girl, Rosa, that the beautifully carved women in the local chruch are not saints, but representations of the seven deadly sins. Manuel Riva's story emerges like spirals of smoke, in a series of memorably poetic images. His characters have their roots deep in the traditions, elgends, language and history of Galacia, Spain's most north-westerly province. With tremendous power of vision, Rivas displays his strong sense of cultural identity through tales narrated with great tenderness and humour.