Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
Patrick Gamble is a fairly regular young man in a world where the lycan problem is growing. The werewolves are unhappy about the continual erosion of their civil rights, and Patrick finds himself swept up in an epic tale of terror, heroism, loss and hope.
Of course it doesn’t help that he has fallen in love with Claire Forrester, who just happens to be canine on occasion. Claire didn’t want her life to be this way, but she finds herself alone and hunted with no one to turn to but her mercurial aunt, Miriam, herself a fugitive from the Tall Man, a sadistic G-man with a score to settle with the lycan community.
As werewolf terrorists conduct outrage after outrage to hit back at government oppression, the authorities tighten their controls upon the entire lycan population. The general public is led to believe that all shape-shifters are dangerous and uncontrollable when, in fact, lycans are fully in control of their urges even when transformed into hairy, humped, big-snouted beasties.
(I can imagine Amazon selling products marketed at the lycan demographic. Shoes that fit their big paws and sharp claws; toughened clothing material that stretches for comfort after transformation; small bespoke vacuum cleaners for when they shed)
Stories, such as that to be found in Red Moon, are OK if the reader is able to suspend disbelief and buy fully into the possibility that lycans could physically transform in this way. It’s not easy for an author to convince a reader to accept such a premise. Red Moon walks the line in this respect.
When considering such outlandish plots, I always think of the wonderful novel, Let The Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It is an excellent yet dark exploration of such preternatural occurrences, and is both convincing and compelling. Red Moon is not in the same league, yet is a decent read for those who enjoy books about werewolves.
Note: there are no vampires in this story although, it is open-ended, so who knows what will be introduced in future episodes, and there will be future episodes.
Patrick follows in his father’s footsteps and joins the US military as they occupy the Lycan Republic, which is situated between Finland and Russia. His father is MIA, and Patrick is determined to find him, but encounters more than he bargains for in the wintry wastes of the land of the Lycan citizenry.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Claire is trying to get an education at an lycan university, but fears the Tall Man and his closing investigations. Subsequently, she flees westwards and finds herself caught up in an apocalyptic event, just as Patrick returns home to the good ole US of A. You can figure out how the rest of this thread pans out.
I found it interesting to see that Red Moon was published in 2013, yet many of the issues covered are being played out in the US today. I don’t mean that werewolves are all over the US (although Kim Kardashian’s eyebrows could do with a trim). No, I’m referring to the obvious parallels between the treatment of the lycan population in the story, and the Islamic community in the US today. Remember, the rising tide of Islamophobia emerged during the Trump campaign, after the publication of Red Moon. I do hope that the ghastly Trump didn’t get any ideas from reading this. It’s may be possible that he believes that he truly is waging war against the forces of supernatural darkness, or perhaps he is merely possessed by Mephistopheles. I suppose anything is possible in our crazy world today (he got elected, didn’t he…).
In Red Moon, the Presidential candidate leading the polls is Chase Williams, a man strongly opposed to lycans, and who wishes to crack down on their freedoms. Williams is also in the pocket of the energy industry, especially the nuclear sector. These companies are ultimately responsible for the US military occupation of the Lycan Republic due to the large amounts of much-needed uranium located there. Williams is most certainly not an environmentalist but is, instead, a war-monger. Sound familiar?
The one hope that we, the people, might have is that Chase Williams begins to doubt his actions and political positioning, more out of necessity than conscience. Sadly, it doesn’t appear that Trump is capable of such introspection. Werewolf? Trump? No, he’s more likely to be one of the fabled Lizard-people.
For the record, and lest anyone thinks that the author is a jihadi, Benjamin Percy looks like a corn-fed white boy, typical of young men who grew up in Oregon, which is where he’s from.
Red Moon is a sizeable tale, sweeping across the US, into Europe and back again. The cast is not enormous, however, which helps. The characters are believable and consistent. The plot thumps along at a good pace, although is weak in certain parts. Better research was needed on weapons capabilities and designs. Percy’s other novel, The Deadlands, reviewed by Rebel Voice, was better. The article can be found here: https://rebelvoice.blog/2017/08/31/the-deadlands/
If you are curious about an author who may have prescience, then this is a good book to read. If you enjoy tales on an epic scale, then this might tick a few boxes. If you like to loose yourself in an alternate universe – which is where this book is set – then this will do it for you. And if you just want an action-packed adventure, with hairy, slobbering creatures running amok in an urban environment, then Rebel Voice recommends you read the Washington Post. Or you could read Red Moon.
Sult scale rating: 7 out of 10. Decent read but could have been sharper. Groundwork laid for enticing future episodes.
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