This rare and beautiful story chronicles the transformation of a small community as seen through the eyes of young Edward Flack.
The community has a self-appointed guardian, the solitary Mr. Rudge. Mr. Rudge has discovered a secret menace to the town: Every night, steel birds fly through the sky on wires, and seem to be growing more numerous even as the real birds are losing ground.
Everyone is afraid of Mr. Rudge, but Edward befriends him, since overcoming his fears is part of his self-imposed hero training. Edward is, however, at a loss as to how to proceed against the mysterious steel birds.
Suddenly, a strange man named Patrick Finn rides into town. Finn has saved Edward's uncle from a suicide attempt, and transformed the uncle from a drab accountant to a dreamy artist. Edward recognizes Finn as a genuine hero, and is astonished at his good fortune to find such a mentor, not to mention someone to help rid the town of the steel birds.
Everyone is transformed by Patrick Finn, and the entire community bands together to drive the steel birds away.
It's hard not to wax poetic about this story. The best thing is for me to simply let the book speak for itself. It is out of print and hard to find, but it is one of the finest books I've read. You will want to read and reread, and pass it along to everyone that you love.
This report prepared by Joshua Kaden