Culdesac is a sequel to the thrilling and powerful Mort(e) that I read earlier this year. I loved Mort(e) and was so excited to read this second story in the revolution of the animals against humanity. Culdesac is the bobcat who leads Red Sphinx, the elite special forces that includes Mort(e) as his second-in-command. We don’t see too much of Mort(e) in this book other than his usual competence and loyalty to the revolution.

Instead it focuses on Culdesac, a cat whose never been a pet, or as he describes it, a slave. He’s always been free and independent. He holds some contempt for domesticated animals, but it does not keep him from being an effective commander. He is holding a small town that for some reason, the humans are trying to retake.

He is haunted by memories of his brother and their past. His brother was murdered by humans, something that intensifies his revolutionary passion. He is also challenged by Nox, a Maine Coon cat who had been a pet at a local nursing home that also provided child care and a shelter for animals. He is attracted, entranced by her, but is also distrustful, particularly when she resists the command to evacuate the village.

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I enjoyed Culdesac. Of course, as a second book in a series, it cannot have the freshness of Mort(e). After all, the first book created an entire new worldview and the second continues that story. Culdesac is a far less conflicted character than Mort(e). He is alone in the world. Mort(e)’s quest was to find his friend Sheba. Culdesac’s is to advance the war, to follow the Queen. This makes him a less complex character, not quite as interesting. However, the book is written with immediacy and action that makes it one of those books you read in one or two gulps because you just can’t put it down.

Culdesac will be published on November 15th. I was provided an advance e-galley by Soho Press through Edelweiss.

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