Today, at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, I bit each of the booksellers. I came here, after all, to spread the infection. That's the premise behind my new novel -- Red Moon (Grand Central/Hachette) -- a post-9/11 reinvention of the werewolf myth. My werewolves -- or lycans, as I call them -- are infected with prions, the misfolded protein responsible for Mad Cow and Chronic Wasting Disease. In prehistoric times, it leapt out of the wolf population and mutated in humans, targeting the brain, leading to rage and sexual impulse. Fast forward to today and roughly 5% of the population is infected. They are unable to hold certain jobs -- they are part of a public registry similar to a sex offenders' list -- they have to take an emotionally deadening drug and succumb to monthly blood tests. And of course there is an uprising -- and a swift government response. Hijinks ensue. And the Pacific Northwest will never be the same. Neither will this bookstore, where I signed some books in blood and chewed on everyone I could get my paws on. If you stop by, you're next...
All teenagers believe they’re different, but in Claire Forrester’s case, it’s true.
In Benjamin Percy’s new novel, Red Moon, there’s a group of people living among us who are definitely different, even though they’re trying to fit in. They’re lycans, werewolves living as if they’re human. For those who don’t want to try to fit in, there’s the Lupine Republic, but that’s heavily guarded, really nothing more than a containment camp, and life there is incredibly hard. But with the proper medication, lycans have been living among us, mostly peacefully.
However, when a lycan explodes into deadly fury on an airplane, leaving human Patrick Gamble the only survivor, the tenuous balance is shifted, and containing lycans becomes a political juggernaut. In this atmosphere, Claire’s family is slaughtered by the government, and she alone escapes.
Red Moon is the beginning of what may be a series, is certainly headed for a trilogy (because I don’t see how he’ll wrap up everything he started here in a single follow-up book!), and Benjamin Percy has created a grim and powerful world where discrimination is expected, where political manipulation is expected, and where moments of joy and love stand out all the more for their passion and desperation.
Percy has created some fabulous, dynamic people and put them in a struggle that is nothing less than epic. His bad guy has an air of evil masked in smiles that is decidedly creepy. I liked not only his main characters, but some of his secondary characters are equally vibrant. I know I want to see more of Miriam! My only whine -- and it is just that – is that it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to read present-tense novels, so it took me a while to get into it because I had to twist my head into a space that can read and enjoy that style. But that’s just my own quirk, and I’m more than willing to tackle it for the sequel!