The Paper Grail is a delicious tale of an ordinary fellow, Howard, called north by clouds and a pelican to fufill his destiny among a cast of marvelous eccentrics. The book is in modern America, Northern California, or rather it reveals part of the true America, a mystically foggy land where circles of secret combatants are competing for an age-old power.
The plot traces this contest between the two rival bands through Howard's, the newcomer's, eyes. Along the way, all life's ordinariness is overturned, exposing subtle mysteries and mystical practices. Folksy eccentricity rules the day, both in the actions of the modern-day characters and with all the historical tie-ins to the likes of John Ruskin and G.K. Chesterton. The villainess, Heloise Lamey, contributes a satisfying evilness to the plot; she is quaint and pitiful while also being grostesque and frightening.
The mystical battle is strongly interwoven with the reality of twentieth-century life, paying rent, making a living, arson, sabotaged brakes...it's a wonderful merger. As a bonus, a romantic subplot is developed throughout the book between Howard and his cousin, Sylvia. The pace of the book cultivates a magical, drifting ambience. The plot hangs together, but one must be willing to put aside contemporary fast-action expectations and allow the book to unfold and enjoy its poetic wanderings. Blaylock's work can change your life, bringing more whimsical smiles into your life.