cover image The Builders

The Builders

Daniel Polansky., $12.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8530-7

The fur and feathers fly fast and furiously in this blood-soaked anthropomorphic fantasy inspired by spaghetti Westerns and thrillers. Once upon a time, a mission in the city called the Capital went horribly awry, thanks to turncoats and infighting. Now the mouse known only as the Captain is determined to finish the job. To that end, he reunites the surviving members of his group, including opossum sniper Boudica, stoat assassin Bonsoir, and sinister salamander Cinnabar. The Captain and his motley band go up against old enemies and former allies in their quest for justice and revenge, but what starts off as a cunning plan ultimately turns into a suicidal hailstorm of bullets, bombs, and bodies. Polansky (She Who Waits) employs a style that’s knowing and sly, a little tongue-in-cheek but deadly serious; it’s as though Brian Jacques and Quentin Tarantino went drinking one night. Short chapters and a nonlinear narrative turn this novella into a quick read, with some surprises and twists revealed so matter-of-factly that they’re easily overlooked. The combination of animal traits and human motivations generates a violently compelling story that’s strong enough to overcome any questions of logistics and worldbuilding. Agent: Chris Kepner, Victoria Sanders and Associates. (Nov.)