The novel draws upon the rich tradition of myth and folklore that is present in Scottish culture, particularly in the Scottish countryside. This is reflected in the mystical atmosphere of the Keldo Woods and the Black Jaws and the presence of pre-historic pagan standing stones located around Monimaskit.
It is also reflected in the strange and magical events that Gideon Mack claims to have experienced.
Specific link is made to The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Faeries written by the 17th Century minister Robert Kirk. Gideon's disappearance can be compared to legends about Kirk that claim his body was taken away by fairies so that Kirk could act as chaplain to the fairy queen.