When I was much younger, I would visit a zoo, and other places where animals were displayed and be happy to see those bars that held them back from me. They couldn’t hurt me, but as I grew older, I soon realized how awful it was to cage these animals. My heart would break and as I looked intently at these creatures, I saw sadness, a deep sadness that entrapped behind these bars was a way of life for these creatures. Those feeling made this book even more heart rending for me. For they, unlike me, could never go home again.
Anse Caulfield is a rescuer. He is a Vietnam veteran, intent on his mission of being a man who saves exotic animals. He has established a sanctuary for lions, elephants, and other exotic animals and has called it Little Eden. There the animals are provided for, given love, attention, and most of all an environment of semi freedom. When Anse’s prize lion escapes and is killed by an assistant, it sets in motion a deep desire in Anse to replace this beloved animal.
There are not only animals in the world of Little Eden. There are other people dedicated to the lives of the animals they save and rescue, even if not legal, their intent is the life of the creatures they have sworn to guard. There is Malaya, a former soldier, once a chaser of people who poached animals in Africa. There is Tyler, a veterinarian, important to Anse and much more than a doctor to his charges, and there is Lope, a falconer, a worker of drones. These people live their lives in service to the animals in their care and engage in a conflict to rescue animals trapped in lives of desperation, hunted for their body parts, their trophy value, their breeding ability, and as a lure or deterrent to nefarious business dealings.
There are notes of fantasy as Taylor Brown seems to crawl into the minds and hearts of not only his characters, but also the animals of the present and past. It is a tribute to what animals once were, where they came from, and how they roamed this planet free with the power of life within them. It’s a look at the earth we now occupy where animals are often valued for what they can bring to their owners in the way of money, trapped in a world not of their making, having no way to escape. It is a sad commentary of where we are and how no matter what we seem to do, animals of the past, present and future are in danger. …..and is it not so that we, too, are animals? Are we not in the same kind of danger as our animals?
I recommend this beautifully written story to all those who not only love animals but also fear for the future of all. It is a tale containing harshness and riveting detail that is often times hard to read as often the truth is. It is the story of life, of dedication, of a person crying in the wilderness for the creatures of the past, present, and what is to come.
Thank you to Taylor Brown, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due out on March, 20, 2020.
and here’s the author:
TAYLOR BROWN grew up on the Georgia coast. He is the author of a short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), as well as three novels: Fallen Land (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin’s Press, 2018)–all finalists for the Southern Book Prize. Taylor, an Eagle Scout, graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005. He settled in Wilmington, NC, after long stints in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of North Carolina. He is the editor-in-chief of BikeBound.com, and he likes old motorcycles, thunderstorms, and dogs with beards. His fourth novel, The Pride of Eden, will be published in 2020.