Odyssey from River Bend, by Tom McGowen – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

“Here is another old review, fixed up the way that it should be published.”

Odyssey from River Bend, by Tom McGowen.
Boston, Little, Brown and Company, April 1975, hardcover $5.95 (ix + 166 pages).

This was a minor children’s/Young Adult fantasy in 1975, but it is notable as one of the first novels to promote the theme of talking animals inheriting the earth after mankind has become extinct through its own mismanagement of the environment.

“It was an old village. Many generations of animals had been born, lived, and died in it. Its name was Jallakragga, which in the language of the animals meant ‘river bend.’

Around the entire village was a stout wall made of logs that had been cut and trimmed by the beaver builders, stuck upright in the ground, and plastered over with clay from the riverbank. The wall formed an irregular circle, and at several places along its length were watchtowers. From these, day and night, the wolf soldiers peered down, alert for any sign of the wandering bands of weasels or wildcats that roamed the forest and sometimes attacked villages. In the part of the wall that faced the great, dim mass of the forest there was a gateway, with a wide door made of thick logs. This door was kept closed and barred during the hours of darkness, and the logs were covered with carved, frightening faces, to scare away any wandering ghosts or wicked spirits that might try to enter.” (pgs. 3-4)

Jikatik and Ikatibby, two raccoon children foraging for food in the nearby forest in autumn, find an ancient object exposed where the river has undercut the bank.

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