cover image Hollow Kingdom

Hollow Kingdom

Kira Jane Buxton. Grand Central, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4582-3

Buxton spins a fresh, alarming apocalypse from the perspectives of intelligent, communicative animals in her hilarious debut. S.T., short for Shit Turd, is an irreverent domesticated crow in Seattle who loves human things—he likes to watch TV and his favorite food is Cheetos. When S.T.’s owner, Big Jim, contracts the illness that’s turning humans into unthinking zombies fixated on technological devices, S.T. lures bloodhound Dennis outside. He relies on the information network of birdsongs known as Aura to seek guidance from the oracular octopus Onida while dodging a murder of wild crows he detests. Onida tasks S.T. with rescuing other pets, but he knows he needs help opening windows and doors. A rumor about One Who Opens Doors takes S.T. to the zoo in search of what he assumes is a healthy human. As wildness takes over the world, S.T. relies on his creativity to navigate mounting dangers, displaced zoo creatures, and unimaginable new life caught in epic battles for dominance. Amid S.T.’s adventure, a variety of animals both tame and wild share moving ruminations on the end of humanity. S.T.’s complicated personality and the masterful blend of humorous and tragic make this novel an eloquent, emotional exploration of survival during an unthinkable cataclysm. Agent: Bill Clegg, the Clegg Agency. (Aug.)