For years, readers have waited for author Michael Payne to return to the beautifully realized animal world of The Blood Jaguar. Now that wait is over, as Rat's Reputation gives us another perspective on life in that world.
Rat, a young orphan taken in by a squirrel community and then sent to live with mice after an accident at a religious ceremony, can't seem to escape the preconceptions everyone has about his kind. Sure, he makes mistakes, but doesn't everyone? It doesn't seem fair that even the things he doesn't do get blamed on him, nor that sometimes the worst things happen when he’s trying his hardest not to get in trouble. He has friends in the community, mice who see him for who he is and not what he is, but they can't shield him forever, and he doesn’t think they should have to.
How did he end up an orphan anyway? He doesn't really remember, but as he grows, he starts to get some hints that it has to do with the Curials, the twelve animal spirits who watch over the world. Even getting answers to that question doesn't help him figure out where he belongs now, though. That's something he'll have to answer for himself. Fortunately for him (and for us), his wanderlust takes him far across the world, to many exotic places, and his absence in the mouse community only makes his legend grow larger.
Where The Blood Jaguar described an unlikely hero thrust into an epic quest with a world depending on him, Rat's Reputation takes us on a no less epic but much more personal journey. Rat faces the questions all of us have faced: am I more than what others see in me? Where do I belong? What’s my purpose here? Around this story, we get Payne's wonderful characters, who make this story a true joy.
Sofawolf Press is excited to include Rat's Reputation as a late addition to our Summer 2015 releases. It will be available for purchase online shortly and at our booth at Anthrocon this coming weekend.