Monday, 2 May 2011

The Heavenly Fox, by Richard Parks – reviewed

A fox who lives to the age of fifty can transform at will into a human woman; one who lives to a thousand becomes immortal – so says The Den and Burrow Guide to Immortality, and upon reaching that venerable age, by fair means and fowl (one assumes), Springshadow finds the legend to be true. A little regretful about the human males whose yang energy she has drained to get there, and a little annoyed by all the new tails she has sprouted, she takes her cloud up to heaven to see what's happening. The answer being not much, Springshadow must find a use to which she can put her hard-won eternity.

Although it feels like little more than a taster for a full-length novel, The Heavenly Fox performs that duty well, introducing an intriguing world of demons, immortals and deities about whom most readers will be keen to learn more. One touchstone here would of course be the ancient chinese myths and legends – one would be disappointed not to meet a monkey god at some point if this becomes a series – while another would be Piers Anthony at his best. The tone, style and plot revived long-faded memories of the Incarnations of Immortality series. That series ran for quite a while; I can see this one doing the same.

The Heavenly Fox, by Richard Parks. PS Publishing, hb, 78pp. Available from Amazon UK and the PS Publishing website.

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