Escape from St. Arned, by Rose LaCroix – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
This title is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only.
As LaCroix’s Basecraft Cirrostratus (June 2010) ended, Elor (Prof. Elor Kaya, cougar), Vinz (Vinz Nivariya, wolf), and Laz (Y’Lazde Malek, fox) appeared to have escaped from the despotism of Occidentania, and hiding in its lawless Basecraft Cirrostratus giant flying airbase, to the freedom of a new life in Riverlea in neighboring Lyocia. But as Escape from St. Arnaud opens a year later, everything is suddenly falling apart for them.
Elor loses his new college job when Occidentania’s old false charges of immorality against him reach Lyocia, and the rumors of immorality make it impossible to get a new job. Also, crimelord Hannock Burrad’s gang from the Cirrostratus is trying to kill him. But the rival criminal gang of Kerro (stoat), which has relocated in Lyocia and is supplying weapons to all the factions in Occidentania, offers to protect Elor and give him a job if he will deliver a shipment for them. Meanwhile, Hannock’s goons rough up Laz while looking for Elor, and the hot-tempered Vinz blames the cougar for his lover’s being hurt. When Laz sides with Elor, Vinz storms out. Then Laz leaves Elor for a different long-term job.
The novella follows each of the three separately for quite a while. Each has a quite different kind of adventure. Elor faces the danger of an arms smuggler:
“The streets behind him erupted into a symphony of gunfire, shots ranging from the high pitched pop of pistols to the dull roar of heavy rifles echoing off the old stone walls. At one point there were even grenades or mortars going off, and he could hear bricks hitting the cobblestones behind him.” (p. 68)
One of them returns to the Cirrostratus undergoing repairs, and there are descriptions of huge flying aircraft:
“Nearby, the gyro itself stood upright on its massive gimbal, spinning at a frightening speed, occasionally rotating ever so slightly to the left or right as the helmscreature in the bridge far above made course corrections.” (p. 55)
The other meets an old friend who is exiled royalty. He spends a luxurious interlude:
“There was a murmur and a flurry of activity and flashbulbs as the king [otter] emerged from the lounge, wearing an impeccably pressed tuxedo, white gloves, a blue sash, and a small but very stately crown that complemented his rather flat brow. He strode regally up the gangway, turning to the crowd below to give a wrist pivoting wave, before walking past the receiving line and accepting a rose from each of his crew.” (p. 51)
When two of them are captured by the remnants of the Occidentanian dictator’s regime and taken to a hurricane-ruined hotel on their island base of St. Arned, all three plan an escape that leads to a fifty-page climax. See the wraparound cover by Soro. But – no, I won’t spoil the unexpected ending.
Elor, Vinz, and Laz are a homosexual threesome with a complicated relationship. There are enough graphic descriptions of their eroticism with each other and with old friends whom they encounter to make Escape from St. Arned R-rated and for sale to over-18 only.