Published: May 2013 Grand Central Publishing
Format/Source: Hardcover, purchased during Fall for the Book
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller
Award -winning author Benjamin Percy presents an explosive and deeply layered literary thriller set in the American West. They live among us.
They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers.
When government agents kick down Claire Forrester’s front door and murder her parents, Claire realizes just how different she is. Patrick Gamble was nothing special until the day he got on a plane and hours later stepped off it, the only passenger left alive, a hero. Chase Williams has sworn to protect the people of the United States from the menace in their midst, but he is becoming the very thing he has promised to destroy. So far, the threat has been controlled by laws and violence and drugs. But the night of the red moon is coming, when an unrecognizable world will emerge…and the battle for humanity will begin.
I purchased this novel because the author did a reading at the annual book fair on campus. I was unable to attend the event, but he seemed the most interesting of the visiting authors.
The premise is a unique take on the werewolf story. They way the “lycans” are integrated into society is reminiscent of both the treatment of jews during WW2 and an AIDS scare. Over the course of the book mandatory identifiers, registration, segregation, and vaccines are all discussed or used. What drives the plot is a group of lycan extremists resorting to acts of terror to gain media attention to their cause. They want the US troops out of their sovereign country in Europe (where the troops provide “protection” and supervise mining for uranium), to stop the mandatory medication of lycanthropy, and unequivocal equality.
The story is intruiging and kept my attention to the end. That is where it lost me, though. Several times throughout the book, Percy appears to write himself into a corner. He builds up to a climax but then, unsure of how to resolve it, uses a time jump to skip forward to the aftermath. This would not have been such an issue if it weren’t so frequent. Once is a writing device, three times is laziness. The worst instance of this mechanism is the ending. None of the overarching plot lines or themes are resolved. They aren’t left for the imagination either. It honestly feels as though there was a chapter missing before the epilogue (which was deliciously forbodeing and open-ended). Because of this, I can’t rate this as high as I would normally want for such a unique premise.