by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Legacy of the Claw is Book 1 of the Animas series, described by reviewers as like a combination of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. In the Kingdom of Aldermere, all humans are magically bonded to an animal from birth. A human is known by the animal that he is bonded with; Animas Cat, Animas Horse, and so on. People travel with their life-bonded Animas padding, hopping, or flying with them; Longfoot the hare, Dillweed the badger, etc. “Civilized” people – farmers, townsfolk – have domestic or small forest animal companions.
Bailey Walker, 12 years old, has just graduated from his local school and been accepted by Fairmount Academy, the most prestigious institute of higher learning in Aldermere. He is enthusiastic about going there, and scared because he will be traveling alone. Bailey is an orphan, adopted as a foundling baby by the Walker farmers; and although they have been loving foster parents, they could never get Bailey to bond with an Animas. Bailey hopes that the teachers at Fairmount can help him find his Animas, but he is equally scared that not having an Animas will be grounds for expulsion, or will make him a freak and a social outcast during his adolescent years.
Bailey, like Harry Potter, travels to Fairmount on an impressive fantasy train: