The Winter Long is the 8th book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. It was written in 2014.

For you there’s rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both.

—William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

Author's Description Edit


For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family's throne; no one's going to war with anyone else; it's almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October "Toby" Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail. And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to. The Winter Long is the eighth book in the October Daye series, a modern urban fantasy set in both the San Francisco Bay Area and the Faerie Kingdom of the Mists which overlays Northern California. It was released in North America by DAW Books on September 2nd, 2014.

The Winter Long (September 2nd 2014, DAW) sees questions answered, answers questioned, and old debts finally put to rest. There is more to lose than there has ever been before, and whatever comes next, it will not come easy.

Full Plot SummaryEdit

Part 1

October, Tybalt, May, Jazz, and Quentin start the book by attending a Yule ball at Muir Woods, in the knowe of Arden Windermere. Toby doesn't want to go, so Tybalt drags her through the Shadow Roads to force her to make an appearance. During dinner, Arden names Toby as a Hero of the Realm.

The next morning, Simon Torquill appears at Toby's front door, and she invites him in under the mistaken premise that he is his twin brother, Sylvester Torquill. Simon claims that his transformation of Toby into a fish was an attempt to save her. He claims to want to help Toby, but is held by his employer's geas. When Jazz comes upon their conversation with a baseball bat, Simon throws another transformation spell at her, and flees the premises. May instructs Toby on how to "see" and subsequently destroy Simon's spell, thus freeing Jazz from its effects.

Toby asks Cagney and Lacey to tell Tybalt that she is going to Shadowed Hills, and that Simon is back. Quentin convinces Toby to take him with her, while May stays at home to care for Jazz as she recovers from Simon's attack. Toby rushes to Shadowed Hills, and Tybalt meets her there. They are met at the entrance by Chelsea Ames, who informs them that the Duke is asleep, then runs off to get her father Etienne. Rather than wait, Toby and crew wander off into the knowe to find Sylvester. Toby wakes him, and he smells Simon's magic on her. Sylvester admits that in his own strange way, Simon may have transformed Toby in order to not kill her instead. He also tells Toby that Simon is married to Amandine, and Toby becomes angry at Sylvester for having kept the secret for so long. She also becomes concerned that Simon may go after Amandine.

Sylvester agrees to go with Toby to Amandine's tower, in case Simon had already been there and left a trail to trace. Tybalt and Quentin accompany them for backup, and the four of them walk through the Summerlands to get there. They discover that Simon had indeed been at the tower recently, but it stands empty now.

Wracking their brains as to where Simon might now be, Sylvester lets on that there's some reason why Simon and Amandine never divorced, but he's already promised not to tell. After breaking the promise not to come after October, which he did when it was time for her Changeling's Choice, Sylvester is not willing to break another promise. Tybalt threatens Sylvester about keeping secrets, and Toby storms out with Tybalt and Quentin behind her. They meet Etienne on the way out, who recommends that they let Sylvester handle things, which Toby refuses.

For want of a better idea, Toby next decides to visit the Luidaeg. Tybalt splits off for a time to visit the Court of Cats and set them up on a patrol for Simon. While driving, Toby explains to Quentin just how bad Simon is, and Quentin mentions that a geas can't be held by a dead person. Quentin calls home for an update, where May informs them that Danny will soon take her and Jazz to Muir Woods for protection. Tybalt meets Toby and Quentin at the Luidaeg's apartment, where the Sea Witch had been waiting for them, already in the know about Simon's reappearance. She warns them that many of the answers Toby seeks are out of her reach due to another geas, which had been placed on her by somebody she cannot talk about.

Trying to work around the geas, Toby asks a few questions and finds out that Simon is able to hide himself from the Luidaeg, that Toby has a sister named August Torquill who is currently missing for more than 100 years, that the geas was created by somebody stronger than October or more talented in illusions, and that Toby knows the caster of the geas. This last question seems to have accidentally broken the geas, so the Luidaeg quickly ushers the three of her visitors out, fearing for their safety.

Running out of options, Toby calls Li Quin Zhou to ask her for another library pass, in order to research based on what the Luidaeg had told them. Once at the Library, the three are met with Simon, who had been there already, and whom Magdaleana warns against fighting in the Library. Toby asks for clarification on the help that Simon had offered that morning, and Simon admits that he'd been planning to turn Toby into a tree. Toby asks if the geas on Simon and the one on the Luidaeg were cast by the same person, but Simon tries to answer and is unable, eventually fleeing the library. Toby and Quentin research the kingdom's Census records while Tybalt paces around them. Using a process of elimination, the gang starts to suspect that Amandine may have been the mysterious employer.

Working to confirm or deny this suspicion, Toby calls the Luidaeg, who at first doesn't answer, and on a second attempt, the line picks up with only the faint sound of breathing. Tybalt listens to the sound and is able to discern that there is somebody else there. Toby and Tybalt race through the Shadow Roads to the Luidaeg's apartment, while Quentin drives there in the car.

Arriving at the apartment, Toby and Tybalt find the Luidaeg's door kicked in, her apartment ransacked, and the Sea Witch herself behind an overturned sofa, bleeding out, battered, and seemingly dead but not yet taken by the Night Haunts. Toby rushes to her aid, performing powerful blood magic to revive the Luidaeg. The Luidaeg awakens, confirms that she had in fact been dead, thanks Toby for bringing her back to life, reminds her of a warning from Amandine, reveals that she'd once been called Vivienne (AKA the Lady of the Lake), and then falls unconscious. Quentin joins them in the apartment, and Toby hides from him the fact that the Luidaeg had died. Tybalt agrees to take her to the Court of Cats for her protection and recovery. The three of them use the car to get the Luidaeg to Goldengate Park, where it would be the shortest distance through the Shadow Roads, cautious of her ability to hold her breath while unconscious. Quentin calls May in order to update her, Jazz, and Arden on the situation.

Once the Luidaeg is dropped off, Tybalt points out that Toby is a mess, and suggests she goes home to change, since they're only a few minutes away. Upon arriving at home, the gang is confronted once more by Simon, sitting on the back porch to wait for Toby. He gives her a bouquet of rosebay and Luna's ice-season roses, and insinuates that the bouquet is a hint of some sort. Toby and Tybalt threaten Simon away.

After searching the house for traps left behind by Simon, October calls May to warn her about Simon's break-in, and October changed out of her bloody clothes. While eating a few sandwiches, Toby inspects the bouquet further, and realizes that it's warning about WinterRose, which she interprets as a lead to Goldengreen.

Using the Shadow Roads to get to Goldengreen, Tybalt takes both Toby and Quentin with him. But the three are blocked before reaching the knowe, and go tumbling into the ocean just outside of it. Toby blacks out during the fall, and is rescued by Dianda Lorden, who had been circling around where she'd been locked out of the knowe, warned ahead of time by Mary. Dianda and her troops are unable to recover Tybalt and Quentin, leading her and Toby both to believe that the two had died and been lost in the ocean.

Pushing aside her grief temporarily, Toby climbs back up the cliff and negotiates with the knowe while picking the lock on the shed entrance to force her way inside Goldengreen. In the courtyard, she finds a scene of destruction and death, where one of Lily's handmaids had been crushed under a tree. Exploring further into the knowe, Toby finds Dean Lorden and his court in the cove-side receiving room, confronting Evening Winterrose, whom Toby had previously presumed to be dead since the events of Rosemary and Rue.

Part 2

Evening reveals that she was the one who had locked the wards of Goldengreen, thus throwing Toby, Tybalt, and Quentin into the sea. She claims to have never died, and to still be the owner of the knowe, despite Dean claiming to be the owner instead. October clarifies the succession of the county's ownership, catching Evening up on the current events, and then tightens her grip on her knife. Evening absconds after throwing a breakout spell which paralyzes everyone but Toby and Marcia, leaving them all to drown as distraction from pursuing her in her escape. Shortly after rescuing everyone, Toby convinces Dean to open the wards, letting in Dianda while Toby mourns the loss of Tybalt and Quentin. The lowering of the wards on Goldengreen also admits Raj, who had come looking for Toby. He takes her back through the shadow roads to the Court of Cats, where Tybalt had managed to drag Quentin from the ocean, saving both their lives and flooding two hallways in the process, all the while having thought they'd lost Toby to the water.

After a teary reunion, Raj and Tybalt help to warm Toby up from her dunk in the ocean and subsequent romp through the shadow roads. She reveals that the wards were raised by Evening, and now that they know Evening is alive, they start to suspect that she may have been the one who had cast the geasa on Simon and the Luidaeg. Toby calls Li Quin to ask her to call Mags at the library, in order to confirm something she'd read while researching Hope Chests during the events of Chimes at Midnight. Mags confirms the name of Eira Rosynhwyr, and clarifies that Eira is nigh-impossible to kill, even for a Firstborn. She also provides a rough translation of the name, to something like "Rose that has been frozen." This confirms Toby's suspicion that Evening and Eira are one and the same. Toby asks Mags to close the library for her own safety.

While trying to figure out a plan, Toby realizes that Sylvester may well be in danger. She calls Shadowed Hills, where Simon answers the phone instead of Sylvester, and speaks as though under duress. Tybalt decides to take a combination route of the Shadow Roads and a trek through the Court of Cats. On the way, Quentin reveals that the placement of his blind fosterage in Shadowed Hills had been influenced and directed by Evening, who seems to have glazed over the better judgement of King Aethlin Sollys, another Daoine Sidhe. By the time the gang reaches Pleasant Hill, it has already been taken over by Evening, with everyone under her influence aside from Etienne and Luna.

Using Quentin's expertise of the servant's halls, the gang sneaks through the knowe to make it to Etienne's quarters, where the knight had barricaded his family away from the Winterrose invasion. He informs Toby that Evening had claimed hospitality of the duchy through the old forms, granting her safety for three days within the halls of Shadowed Hills. Bridget swaps out Toby's wet clothing for dry sweaters and socks.

When asked, Luna agrees to meet with Toby, and claims to have the definitive answer to Evening's identity, along with other useful information. But she refuses to tell Toby unless she purifies the blood of Rayseline Torquill, who still lies sleeping through the elf-shot from the events of One Salt Sea. Toby agrees reluctantly, and uses her blood magic to start the process, allowing Rayseline to make a choice through the use of a dream-like shared hallucination. Raysel chooses to shift her blood towards her Daoine Sidhe half, leaving behind her Blodynbryd heritage to make her blood more stable instead of mixed; she thanks Toby for the opportunity. The effort of the blood magic, though successful, causes Toby to pass out from exhaustion, leaving Tybalt to gain the bargained information from Luna before carrying Toby back to the Court of Cats.

Upon waking, Toby is forced by Tybalt to eat a decent meal before he agrees to tell her what Luna had told him. Luna had confirmed that Evening is Eira, that she had never been dead, and that Luna didn't fall under her influence due to a combination of strength from her roses, practice in defying firstborns from her parents, and a lack of shared bloodlines. Toby still puzzles over why Grianne (of Maeve's bloodline) fell to Eira's influence, but Etienne (sworn to Sylvester's fealty) did not. In the meantime, Toby decides to leave Quentin in the Court of Cats for his protection against his First.

Toby's phone interrupts a tender moment, with May on the other end, having called three times previously, because the wards on Shadowed Hills had been closed for ten hours. Toby tells May to advise Arden to close her doors as well, for protection. Another phone call comes in, this time from Simon, who had picked up the number from the kitchens in Shadowed Hills. He claims a need to speak with Toby, and that he has only about an hour to linger at her home. Tybalt takes her there to meet Simon, who claims to have fed the pets, and indeed has Spike on his lap. Still bound by a geas, Simon offers his blood to Toby, that she may ride it and see the truth. Toby accepts, Simon punctures his hand on Spike's thorns, and Toby drinks directly from him as he lives and breathes, which is a first for her.

In the blood, Toby sees Simon's memory of Amandine at a ball, and he insists that it is important Toby knows he was so attracted to Amandine. He shows her memories of August growing up, and leaving home with a Babylon candle, which Simon explains was the catalyst for Amandine's madness, and the reason why he'd gone into servitude for Evening. Then Simon seems to have a change of heart, as he explains how the power promised by Evening had corrupted him, and he grasps hold of Toby in the web of a spell, accusing her of chasing power too through the slow purification of her blood. Then he releases her, and she punches his blood-memory construct in the nose. Simon says that Daoine Sidhe could accomplish much more if they were willing to work their blood magic to its full potential, and hints that not even Toby or Amandine are aware of its limits. He claims that his relationship with Oleander de Merelands was forced by Evening, and that he hadn't had any other options but to go through with everything. As the blood vision ends, Toby realizes that her nose is bleeding, that Simon had tricked her, and then she passes out.

Upon waking, Toby finds herself covered in blood from the nosebleed, and finds the Luidaeg in her living room, who reassures her that Tybalt is recovering from Simon's whammy, and advises that Toby shouldn't drink other people's blood if she can't trust them. The Luidaeg makes a medicinal chowder to help Toby and Tybalt recover, and hugs and Thanks Toby for saving her life, making it clear that she owes a huge debt. Toby wakes Tybalt, who shifts forms without clothing, and runs off to get some pants. The Luidaeg refreshes Toby's wards, and claims that they shouldn't need refreshed again for a century or so. She warns that Toby shouldn't take raising the dead so lightly, and that it mustn't become a habit. Toby interrogates the Luidaeg's knowledge of how Eira's influence works, and finds out that it works on a combination of genetics, fealty, and sheer effort, which she doesn't tend to like to expend.

Toby and Tybalt also ask whether the Firstborn who'd armed the murderers of the Roane was Eira; the Luidaeg confirms that it was, and that to add insult to injury, Eira had convinced Titania to bind the Luidaeg to tell the truth and never harm any of Titania's descendants, effectively turning her into the Sea Witch.

The Luidaeg urges them to move against Evening quickly, lest Sylvester lose his free will under her influence. With an apple and one of the rose stems from Simon's bouquet, the Luidaeg casts a spell on Toby's car which masks it from Evening's notice. Then she sends Tybalt down the Shadow Roads as a distraction, agreeing to meet him in the parking lot outside Shadowed Hills. Then, using the Thorn Road and the guidance of Maeve's blessing and the Summer Roads Key, the Luidaeg causes the car to drive a shortcut straight from Toby's house to the Duchy of Shadowed Hills at Paso Nogal Park. Talking about the firstborn, Toby happens to wonder who Amandine's parents were. The Luidaeg confirms that they were Oberon and an unknown mother who was neither Maeve nor Titania, and whom she cannot discuss. Tybalt joins them shortly thereafter.

The Luidaeg forces her way through the wards of Shadowed Hills, letting all three of them inside. They confront Evening in the throne room, where her influence almost takes Toby, who is only able to resist by puncturing her own palms with her fingernails and drinking her own blood. By the time she frees herself, Toby finds Simon in the middle of choking Tybalt with a spell, and the Luidaeg unable to help. Evening uses the same spell to trip Toby and bind her, breaking her nose and causing her to bleed freely into her own mouth. Toby calls three times for the Luidaeg's help, pointing out that she can do so without moving against the children of Titania. The Luidaeg breaks Evening's spell to free Toby, and pulls her away from Evening's grip. Toby accuses Evening of being desperate, and the Luidaeg accuses her of false benevolence for having never harmed Toby; that she can't do so. Evening commands Simon to kill Tybalt.

Toby leaps into action to save Tybalt from Simon's grasp, once again ripping Simon's spell apart with her bare hands. Simon runs away while Toby tends to Tybalt, and by the time Toby turns back to Evening and the Luidaeg, she finds them gone. Tybalt's sense of smell confirms that they seem to have departed for a different dimension. Then he collapses from shock and blood loss.

With Evening gone, Grianne breaks free of her influence, and confronts Toby for an explanation. Toby quickly explains, and asks that she retrieves Luna and Jin. Sylvester hears the explanation and confirms the requests, as well as Ormond the house hob for cleaning up Toby's puddle of blood. Jin confirms that Tybalt has magic poisoning from the backlash of Simon's spell, and says she can fix it. Toby discovers that she has the Summer Roads Key in her pocket, which Luna is able to use as a map to the Luidaeg's location.

Toby convinces Luna to open the Rose Roads on the debt of saving her life and freeing her from the rule of her father. Luna does it and says her debts are paid, and that it has cost Toby more than she can know. Toby dashes into the portal, which instead seems to lead to the Thorn Roads, and tracks the scent of Evening's magic to find Evening and the Luidaeg in the middle of a confrontation.

The Luidaeg gloats that Evening can't touch Toby or Amandine, while Evening switches between claiming to be Toby's friend and seeming disgusted at the very idea. She throws a compulsion spell, which Toby again breaks with her knife and bare hands. Then, Simon steps out of the treeline and takes a shot at Evening, who stops the arrow in midair and flings it back at Simon, striking him with his own Elf-shot. Toby retrieves the arrow from Simon's arm, coats her knife in the elfshot serum from his wound, and goes after Evening with it, stabbing her in the shoulder until she falls asleep.

Leaving Evening asleep on the Thorn Roads, Toby and the Luidaeg carry Simon's sleeping body back to Shadowed Hills. Toby, Tybalt, and the Luidaeg go home, and Raj and Quentin join them. The next night, Tybalt proposes marriage to Toby, who happily accepts.

Characters, Fae Types, PlacesEdit

Characters Fae Types Places, Misc
Arden Windermere Tuatha de Dannan Yule Ball
"Toby", October Daye
Li Qin
Sylvester Torquill
Simon Torquill
Evening Winterrose
Dean Lorden


Back Cover TextEdit

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score. She was wrong. It's time to learn the truth

See AlsoEdit

External ReferencesEdit

Pages for Book:

Content References:

Toby-verse Links:


October Daye Stories

Rosemary and RueA Local HabitationAn Artificial NightLate EclipsesOne Salt SeaAshes of HonorChimes at MidnightThe Winter LongA Red-Rose ChainOnce Broken FaithThe Brightest FellNight and Silence

Short stories

Rat-Catcher (#0.6)Through This House (#4.5)In Sea-Salt Tears (#5.1)No Sooner Met (#6.2)Never Shines the Sun (#7.1)Forbid the Sea (#7.2)Heaps of Pearl (#8.1)The Fixed Stars (#8.5)Full of Briars (#9.3)Dreams and Slumbers (#10.5)Of Things Unknown (#11.5)Suffer a Sea-Change (#12.1)

Patreon stories

In Little Stars (#0.5)Stage of Fools (#7.3)The Voice of Lions (#7.4)The Act of Hares (#7.5)Instruments of Darkness (#7.6)With Honest Trifles (#7.7)In Deepest Consequences (#7.8)Jealous in Honor (#7.9)Quick in Quarrel (#7.91)Shore to Shore (#8.2)Write in Water (#8.3)And Thrice Again (#8.32)Live in Brass (#8.4)The Ambitious Ocean (#8.5)These Antique Fables (#11.1)