by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Tailless, by Erin Quinn
Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Books, May 2016, trade paperback $20.00 (284 [+ 1] pages).
Dolores, a young tailless vixen, is a waitress at Max’s lower-class diner. When she is molested by a drunken rat customer, Max (a fatherly bear) moves in to protect her; but she can take care of herself.
“Dolores clenched her serving tray to her side and took a step forward. Her heals clacked against the wooden floor. The diner became quite. ‘I wasn’t done with ya, sweetie. How about bring that bare bottom back over here?’ She toyed with the idea of clawing his face, but her father’s words echoed between her ears: ‘Young ladies do not raise their claws.’” (p.1)
The problem is that they are in the city of ‘Lo, Lyndon, and Lyndon lost the Common War with Ulick a year ago. King Scottsburg (lion) is furious and is executing most of his old advisors, their families, and anyone else he doesn’t like as traitors. Dolores and Max cannot afford to do anything that will bring themselves to the attention of his Royal Guard. Dolores is something of a mystery woman:
“Ever since they met Max had been curious about her. She arrived six months ago with little more than the clothes on her back. The easy option would have been to turn away a girl who had no work history, no credits to buy a meal, and a vague explanation for why she was in the city. But she was eager to help and wanted very little in return. Max couldn’t say no.” (p. 3)
It’s not giving away much of a spoiler to reveal that Dolores is really Belladonna Sinclair, daughter of a minister personally executed by King Scottsdale. While the Sinclair family was in favor before the war, Dolores/Belladonna was in a close friendship with young Tym Timmons (gray and black tabby cat). Since the war, Tym is the new Minister of the Interior, in charge of finding and executing the king’s enemies. He dares to plead for Belladonna’s pardon since she was innocent of her father’s treason, but King Scottsdale is adamant that she be publicly killed. The missing Belladonna/Dolores’ hiding is helped by the fact that nobody knows that she lost her tail in the war (“‘I just got caught up in a scuffle. It wasn’t too bad. Honestly, I’m sure whoever swung the sword wasn’t aiming for my tail.’” – p. 29), but it does make her stand out. She is now in hiding in ‘Lo, helped by her taillessness and the fatherly Max, and by James Euclid (skunk), the handsome son of her former (slain) university professor.