by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Wrath of Trees, by Bard Bloom. Illustrated, maps by Tod Wills.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2011, trade paperback $16.95 (268 pages), Kindle $2.99.
“The lakku philosopher wagged her tails as she hammered nails into my trunk. Not pleasant, companionable wagging, but wagging them so that they cross each other: the gloating of a victorious predator. I was small at the time, and three of the nails poked out of my bark on the opposite side. They ached, of course, but a plant does not feel her body as acutely as an animal would. Nothing had eaten my fruit, so I had no way to resist her, or even complain.” (p. 14)
Thus the opening paragraph of the story. If anyone wonders why the story begins as late as page 14, the preceding pages are filled with three maps of the world of Kono and the island of Naoth, and a seven-page “prependix” of the characters, language and vocabulary to be encountered.
How to summarize the summary? The lakku, the main characters of Kono, “are generally humanoid, but with some aspects of dogs and birds” (p. 9) with two tails and fur, so they’re furry. Naoth has several social/political factions. Pyzot, the nail-driving philosopher in the opening paragraph, is a member of the Rorojro faction which has recently lost its Great Faction status. She intends to use questionable and illegal methods to regain that status, which will also advance herself in Rorojro’s hierarchy. She has obtained two offworld maraleni trees, which look like regular Kono trees but are sentient and can mentally control weak minds that eat their berries. Bringing any offworld plants to Kono is a capital offense, so Pyzot, her husband Saet, and Rorojro’s kotanay (leader) Utsusei are playing a risky game. Pyzot is brutal, as shown by hammering the nails into Melylunnu (Melyl), the tree, who is the book’s narrator. Melyl hates Pyzot, but what can a speechless tree do? especially when, if she is discovered by anyone else, she will be uprooted and burnt?