The Child Thief. I absolutely loved it and wanted to get a hold of more books by him. A few years later, I stumbled upon Krampus: the Yule Lord. I've been meaning to read it, but just never got around to it. But when I realized I had both an article and book review due for work, I decided that Krampus was the perfect compliment to my article on Santa Claus.
Krampus is the story of the Yule Lord. He was imprisoned by Santa Claus five hundred years ago. With the help of his Belsnickels, demonic-looking people he has chained to his will, he is finally ready to break free. All he needs is Santa's magical sack.
Jesse Walker has the misfortune of observing the Belsnickels make their grab for the sack, which falls into his trailer. When he discovers the sack's magic, he thinks his money trouble is over. But both Santa and the Belsnickels are after him. And when the Belsnickels find him first, he gets caught up with Krampus and his ancient feud with Santa.
I had a hard time getting into Krampus; it took until about half-way through the book before I started really caring about what was going on. But make no mistake: after the initial set-up, this book gets awesome! The Yule Lord is Loki's grandson, and Santa Claus is actually Baldr. Their feud was really interesting, seeming to be started from a difference in both opinion and viewpoint. The Belsnickels were really interesting people, being made up of Native Americans from 400 years ago, a surveyor from the turn of the century, and Isabel, a woman with the heart of a lion. Krampus was a really fun but dark romp through Christmas traditions.