Title: Red Moon
Author: Benjamin Percy
No. of Pages: 544
Genre: Science Fiction
Bottom Line: One of my favorite books of the spring.
“They live among us.They are our neighbors, our mothers, our lovers.They change.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.”
Thoughts: In Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon, the world is very similar to ours except for one key difference. The national threat is not terrorists from the Middle East but rather something a bit closer to home. Lycans, or werewolves, have long been protesting their treatment at the hands of the government, and their more radical elements are done with polite protesting. A plane attack is just their first plan. The ultimate solution is so much worse. With anti-lycan sentiment at an all-time high, those infected with the disease find themselves facing all new threats.
Mr. Percy’s world-building is a creative masterpiece. By substituting the lycans for every other real-world, modern-day national threat, he establishes a world that is surprisingly realistic. He also minimizes the fantasy element by building a world in which the major, historically relevant, and well-known revolts and protests still happened but with different culprits. It is a brilliant piece of alternative history that does much to lend credence to the entire story.
The story itself is a fast-paced, no-holds-barred thriller. The action is at times brutal, but Mr. Percy never crosses over into the macabre or uses gore for sensationalism. Every act of torture or scene of violence serves a purpose, one that creates the emotional connection necessary to understand the characters and their motivations. He also uses such scenes to highlight the huge swath of gray that covers such polarizing ideologies. For, a reader will find it difficult to unanimously side with either one character or faction. Mr. Percy balances a reader’s sympathy between the two, further complicating the decisiveness of the escalating conflict.
A clever premise complete with thrilling action makes Red Moon one of the more exciting novels to be released this spring. Its revisionist history may alter familiar terrorist attacks but provides an excellent analogy for our current “war against terror” and our continued presence in Afghanistan. The characters are wonderfully complex and very real, but it is Mr. Percy’s beautiful writing that steals the show. His stark words paint a clear and realistic picture of this multi-layered, highly symbolic story about intolerance and the depths to which people will go in order to protect their rights. One should not be turned off by the fact that Red Moon just so happens to be about werewolves because the message is one for the ages.