by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Huntress, by Renee Carter Hall.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $9.95 (213 pages), Kindle $4.99.
Leya is a young adolescent lioness in an anthropomorphic African veld who lives in the village of Lwazi. But she doesn’t want to grow up to become just another tribal wife and mother. She dreams of becoming a karanja, a member of the nomadic band of female expert huntresses who hunt for meat for all the villages. Becoming a karanja is a prestigious, almost religious goal, but it means rigorous training and the renunciation of living with men — of ever getting married, or having children.
“The first time she’d seen them, she had been very young. But she hadn’t been afraid. The other cubs, male and female alike, had hidden behind their mothers, frightened by the huntresses’ fierce eyes and sharp weapons. Where the villagers wore beads or stones, the karanja sported necklaces of bone and hoof and claw, and their loincloths were made of zebra hide in deference to Kamara’s first kill, a material only they were permitted to wear.
They were all mesmerizing, exotic and dangerous and beautiful, their eyeshine flashing like lightning-strikes as they took their places around the fire. But there was one Leya could not look away from.
Masika, the karanjala, first among the karanja. Her headdress of fish-eagle feathers stood out from her noble face like a mane, and her loincloth was of giraffe hide, just as their first male wore. Her eyes were sharp and watchful, her every muscle toned and tensed, and like all the karanja, she proudly bore the twin scars on her chest where her breasts had been cut away. Leya sat silently, drinking in Masika’s presence, watching everything the huntress did, every movement, every manner.” (pgs. 10-11)
Leya follows her goal relentlessly, tirelessly as she grows up. She leaves her village to follow the karanja on their outskirts, and finally her perseverance impresses them enough that she is made one of their group.