|About the Book|
Ever wonder what its like to be one of Gods creatures in the wild? F. St. Mars does just that in various vignettes following the daily pursuits of all manor of them, great or small, with pinions or paws from the bird, insect and animal kingdoms.Conclusion?Everyday, every moment in fact - its raw, red war.Initially I meant only to mention just one or two of the episodes that I enjoyed the most, but considering that we all have our own favourite animals, I decided instead to at least name each and every creature that gets an outing so that, if interested, you can have a quick read about yours.The very first story is about one of mine. Gulo the Indomitable is a wolverine, that voracious, implacable devil, a beast with brains that only man, and no beast, ought to be trusted with- and he had no soul. His particular tale is bloodthirstier than a Rambo movie.Then, in order, the stories of a blackbird and his demanding other half, a queen-wasp looking for a site for a city, a hedgehog, a wildcat named Pharaoh, a crippled thrush, a black-backed gull, and a pair of black rats chased by a posse of their brown foes.Up next up is the turn of the genet, followed by a daring prison beak by brother and sister lion cubs, escaping from captivity under cover of night. Following that, The Highwayman of the Marsh features the most startling and dramatic fight to the death between a polecat and a buzzard.After two competing breeds of jackal duke it out comes The Storm Pirate, about a fascinating bird I had not heard of before called the Arctic skua, who finds his food by scaring fish from out of the mouths of other birds.Another favourite story was When Nights Were Cold, which tells how a white wolf led the pack for the last time before retiring from the fray. Then the humble vole gets a look in, before Chieftain the golden eagle dishes out some just deserts to a would-be poacher.To finish up there is another favourite story about a relative of the wolverine, the honey-badger, brave enough to tackle a lion and part of a remarkable mutually beneficial relationship with a bird called the honey-guide (Lead on, Macduff!)- then, finally, a very bad day for a wily old pheasant and his brethren.If you care to read three or four of these stories randomly I feel sure you will enjoy them all- but read them all of a piece and you may find, like I did, that the authors narrative tricks become a touch repetitive.St, Mars tone is something like a childrens storyteller, but I wouldnt read these to my nieces and nephews unless I wanted to scare them out of acquiring a pet.Though whimsically rendered, this is Nature in blood-soaked tooth and claw.