Thursday , July 18 2024
The Navigating Fox by Christopher Rowe

Book Review: ‘The Navigating Fox’ by Christopher Rowe

The Navigating Fox by Christopher Rowe is a small slice of inspired fantasy set in a world where somehow some animals have become “knowledgable,” obtaining the power of speech and human reason. Not every animal, though, and not even all animals of the same species. One cat may be knowledgeable while the next one you meet won’t be.

Quintus Shu’al is the only knowledgable fox, at least as far as he knows. In all his travels he has never met another fox like him. Of course he’s a rather unique individual no matter what, as he’s able to navigate the Silver Roads. These mysterious roads seem to exist in a separate reality from the world and allow travellers to travel places not normally accessible to mortals.

A Navigating Fox Hits the Road

However, even a navigating fox isn’t infallible. As our story begins it’s coming up on the year anniversary of the last journey Shu’al led – one that ended in the alleged death of all involved save him. Yet the more we learn about that journey, the more we realize how little control over events he actually had.

A High Priest of the Temple of the Hinge, Holy Scipio Aemilanus, has been manipulating events behind the scenes. We find out he was the one who had sponsored Shu’al’s last ill-fated mission. So when Scipio offers to give Shu’al the opportunity to redeem himself by leading a party on a journey to the Gates of Hell, the fox is naturally suspicious.

The world Rowe has created for these beings to inhabit is both familiar and fantastical. While a population made up of both knowledgeable creatures and humans, and one where both exist on an equal footing, is of course not usual, most of the intrigues and behind the scenes maneuvers are distressingly familiar.

A Mysterious Gift

While Rowe has carefully invented various myths surrounding the creation of knowledgable creatures, one of the mysteries hanging over the story is the creation of Shu’al. Nobody, not even him, knows his origins. Why is he the only knowledgable fox? How was he gifted with the ability to find his way onto and off of the Silver Roads?

It’s this knowledge that Scipio claims to have, and uses it to control Shu’al. With the hope of finding out who he is hanging in the balance, Shu’al agrees to lead the party to the Gates of Hell. As readers travel alongside the party – which includes a knowledgeable bison and her human aides – Rowe gradually fills us in about the world we’ve found ourselves in.

With The Navigating Fox Christopher Rowe has created a world which will intrigue and fascinate readers. A plot with enough twists to satisfy even the most devious mind and compelling characters make this a wonderful read.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to Qantara.de and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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