by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Echoes of Those Before, by James Daniel Ross. Illustrated by Josh Parise.
Clairton, PA, Copper Fox Books, May 2015, trade paperback $11.99 ([3 +] 256 pages), Kindle $2.99.
“In a broken world, in a broken land, there lay the shards of a kingdom. Near the center of that lost kingdom, protected by mountains, there lay a vale; along the river resided the five villages of the Fox Folk: Iceriver in the cleft of the hills where sun rarely shone; Oxbow, where the fishing was best even if done through the ice; Rocklake, where lived the steaming mud pits and the elder, where matters of law were discussed; Springvale at the entrance to the vale where the merchants and craftsmen met incoming caravans, and Sunrise, high on the slopes.
It was normally a peaceful, happy place among the low, rolling hills and tall, stately trees. Normally happy, but not today. Today they were losing one of their own.” (p. 4)
The Prologue and the first chapter introduce the main characters, Iam the white-furred Fox and Maverus the black-furred (shown on the cover by Christina Yoder) of the Fox Folk. They also establish that the Fox Folk are not the only Animal Folk, and that they have counterparts among the regular animals.
“Before the fire, stood the tall, gaunt form of the elder. He was not a Fox, but a Drake. Some whispered he was a dragon, but he stood only just taller than they, and never breathed fire. He blinked inscrutable eyes set in a pebbly, gray reptilian face, tasted the air with a long, forked tongue, and adjusted his robes for more warmth.” (p. 6)