The Woods Out Back

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The Woods Out Back is a 1993 fantasy novel by R. A. Salvatore. It is part of the Spearwielder's Tales series.

Plot introduction[edit]

The Woods Out Back is the story of a young American named Gary Leger[1] who one day wakes up in a magical land called Faerie. He finds he has been kidnapped by a leprechaun named Mickey McMickey[1] to wear the armor of Cedric Donigarten, a legendary warrior, and reforge his legendary spear. The book is set in Lancashire, a thinly disguised version of Salvatore's home city of Leominster, Massachusetts.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Gary Leger works at a plastic manufacturing factory. Every day he has the same boring routine. Gary constantly refers to The Hobbit as his favorite book and reads it all the time. In the blueberry patch that is near his house through a steadily receding woodline, he sees a pixie holding a small bow before he passes out on the ground. He then awakes in the mystical forest of Tir'na'nog in the presence of the leprechaun Mickey McMickey. After being seduced by a nymph (Leshiye), he is rescued by the elf Kelsenellenelvial Gil-Ravardy (Kelsey for short), who takes Gary on a quest to re-forge the spear of the legendary hero Cedric Donigarten. There are however two problems. The first is that to re-forge the spear, they require the services of the finest blacksmith alive, the dwarf Geno Hammerthrower. To solve this problem they capture him in his home. The second problem is that it must be forged in the flames of a dragon. On their way to visit the dragon Robert they are captured by the witch Ceridwen. Gary and company, through a plan developed by Gary, escape Ynis Gwydrin with the help of a giant named Tommy and make it to the lair of Robert. Kelsey (or rather an image of Kelsey conjured by Mickey) defeats Robert in single combat and convinces him to reforge the spear. Upon returning home, Gary is assured of the reality of all the events in the book when he sees that his book is still in the script of Mickey McMickey.


  • Gary Leger, the protagonist, is a physically well-built man who goes through the motions of his job and imagines everything as fantasy, creating internal games to occupy his time. He changes from a somewhat cynical individual into one with compassion for his race as well as the others presented to him in his new world. Gary proves himself by coming up with unusual but effective plans for outsmarting his foe. At many times his inexperience burdens the diverse party, yet he still manages to earn the respect and compassion of his traveling mates.
  • Kelsenellenelvial Gil-Ravardy (Kelsey) is a noble elf attempting to complete his life-quest of reforging the spear of Cedric Donigarten. He enlists (or rather forces) the help of a leprechaun named Mickey McMickey to find a human from our world that fits the specifications of the armor, and Mickey reluctantly agrees. After the journey the elf develops some respect for Gary Leger and even develops a sort of camaraderie with the human from another world, despite the contempt the wood elves of Tir'Na'nÓg hold for the short-lived, linear thinking race.
  • Geno Hammerthrower is a stubborn dwarf who lives in the Devergamal mountains and is captured by Kelsey to help reforge the spear of the legendary hero Cedric Donigarten.
  • Mickey McMickey is a carefree leprechaun who couldn't care less what happens as long as he isn't part of it. That is until he is captured by Kelsey under the Rules of Capture, set down by the Wee Folk ages ago. After being forced to "steal" Gary Leger from his own world, Mickey thinks that his part of the quest is done until Kelsey forces him to accompany the elf and human, thrusting Mickey into the thick of politics in Faerie.


  1. ^ a b Drew, Bernard Alger (2002). 100 More Popular Young Adult Authors: Biographical Sketches and Bibliographies. Libraries Unlimited. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-56308-920-6.
  2. ^ "LOCAL AUTHOR'S LATEST CHAPTER HAS LOCAL TIES". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 1993-11-14. Retrieved 2009-03-18.