Just imagine what would happen if the animals of the world finally lost their patience with mankind, and were driven to take direct action against us because of the terrible damage we’ve been wreaking on the natural world. Just imagine if they ganged up together to fight back. Adults who have seen Hitchcock’s film The Birds know just what a terrifying thought that is. Young readers will quickly understand too when they read Simon David Eden’s book. It takes just a couple of chapters for mankind to be almost completely annihilated – after all, we are hugely outnumbered – and the animals’ attack is ruthless and savage indeed. You can’t help thinking that the author is firmly in the animals’ camp, particularly when it comes to animal testing.
Domestic pets, or Truckles as their wild cousins disparagingly call them (echoes of Rowling’s Muggles are perhaps deliberate), take pity on their former owners. One of these Truckles, a cat called Will-C belongs to the human hero of the book, a girl called Drue. Can they work together to find a refuge for the few humans left? At this point, the book presents its readers with another enticing ‘Just imagine’. It turns out that Drue’s father, and Drue herself, are Nsray Adepts – members of an ancient tribe with the ability to adopt animal form at will. How cool would it be if you could become any animal you wanted? A swallow, a beautiful roan horse, a wild cat – Drue tries them all.
At this point, the book becomes almost political thriller. Before long, the animals have split into factions and are fighting each other. There are internal power struggles going on too within the Nsray ranks, and Drue is at the heart of them. Can she reunite with Will-C, and is there any chance for the scattered remnants of mankind?
As you can tell, this is a book as ideas-packed as it is action-packed. On the whole, the author keeps good control of them and the plot, and there are some absolutely thrilling action scenes, as well as quieter moments, and some humour too. I’d have liked more chapters spent with Will-C, whom I ended up liking very much indeed, but I imagine other readers, particularly those more used to playing computer games, will really enjoy the battle scenes (there’s a terrifying Tsunami scene at one point too). Altogether this is original, unusual and well worth recommending. It ends with the scene set for further adventures, as is de rigueur these days.