Svaha means "the time between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder—a waiting for promises to be fulfilled."
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From Locus Magazine, 1988:
When Charles de Lint, master of urban fantasy, decides to write a cyberpunk novel, it's going to be a strange one. This is a pastoral mystical novel, like most of de Lint's. As with the others, what keeps it from being absurd is a deft hand with characterization and a love for the mystic religions. De Lint knows that mysticism is not a way to hide from the world, but a way to deal with it differently. His characters do know when action is necessary and take action at those times. De Lint's readers who normally read only fantasy should try this book: it's very well handled, and might get them started on reading more SF. And those who normally read only SF may find that it tempts them to read more fantasy.
From The Fulcrum, University of Ottawa, 1989:
De Lint has done what he is best at here produced a story about people and how they deal with their environment, and the places that history has built, or dug, for them. The major characters in this book are likeable people, not the saints that some authors paint their heroes as… If you are interested in near-future SF, this is a must read. If you are just looking for an interesting and gripping read, then you will enjoy Svaha as well.
From Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact:
Charles de Lint is renowned for his fantasies in which moderns confront faery, the realm of myth, legend, and history, or in which head confronts heart and the truer, nobler paths of existence. Now he gives us the same confrontations in science fiction instead of fantasy and proves that his skills are independent of the difference. Svaha has love, mysticism, honor, martial arts, murder, more mysticism, blood, more love, superhero deeds, and high hopes. It's got it all, something for everyone, and it's very satisfying.