by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Camouflage, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2017, trade paperback, $19.95 (293 pages), Kindle $9.99.
Camouflage is a spinoff of Kyell Gold’s popular five Dev and Lee novels. It features tiger footballer Devlin Miski’s cousin Danilo in a very different plot. That puts Camouflage into Gold’s Forrester University world.
Danilo is an adolescent English 19-year-old white tiger, currently studying at the Student Center of the Université Catholique in Tigue, Gallia, on the Saône River.
“Tigue, like many Gallic cities, contained many identities within her borders. The main campus of the Université Catholique lay on the edge of one of the newer parts of the city, a small suburb that had been built up twenty years ago, stretching sleek glass and elegant steel skyward. Old photos of the Université’s stately limestone buildings from before the expansion showed their red clay roofs over grey-white arches amidst of modest forests and fields. In the Presqu’Ile campus in the heart of old Tigue, ancient limestone and red clay dominated, broken up by cold grey churches, and through them, modern cars honked along the rain-slick street, though down on the riverbank, the babble of the crowd faded next to the light hiss of rain into the river.” (p. 13)
“Currently” is the year 2008, when Dev has just had his press conference in the States announcing that he’s homosexual. Danilo is much more private and withdrawn, and he’s not interested in sports. He hasn’t announced his homosexuality yet, although he does have a gay lover; Taye, a mouse Romany fellow student. (Actually he’s bisexual, but he doesn’t realize that yet.) Readers of Out of Position, the first Dev and Lee novel, will know that Dev was forced to “come out of the closet”. Danilo resents the notoriety-by-association that makes it harder to conceal his own sexual orientation.
“Gah, this was going to drive Danilo crazy. All because some cousin he’d only met a couple times decided to make his sexual preference public. Who did that, anyway? There was a question he could ask: why would you do that, declare that you’re gay in a big spectacle for everyone to see? Nobody needed to know. Maybe when you were a big football star, you lost sight of the fact that not everyone cares about your private life. Maybe you didn’t stop to think about the other people who would be affected by your actions, like your cousin across the ocean who had used you as a shield because he couldn’t play footer, and nobody in this country wanted to play cricket.” (pgs. 14-15)
Danilo’s sister Lena is thrilled by the news (“He’s the first professional athlete to come out. He’s a homosexual. Isn’t it wonderful?”), and is determined to tell everybody, which makes him feel even more exposed. He tries to get away from his classmates by retreating to a private spot he’s found, underneath an old stone bridge across the Saône.
And then suddenly, impossibly, he’s transported back in time to 1508 A.D.