When you say you’re reading a novel about werewolf politics, there’s an understandably large group of people whose first inclination is to tune out. Generally speaking, I would be one of those people. But sometimes, a political werewolf novel is both a political werewolf novel and just enough more to be good.
Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon takes place in a fictional present where 5.2% of the population are lycans, which is to say – werewolves. Lycans can control when they “turn” (it involves hairy bodies and bleeding gums) but are still maligned by the general public and forced to endure certain indignities, like a national registration and a government-mandated sedative to suppress their aggression. Compounding the tension, a small faction of lycans have formed a resistance movement, which is carrying out acts as small as vandalism and as large as terrorism in defense of lycan rights and the independence of the Lupine Republic, lycans’ native country, which the U.S. is occupying and milking for uranium.
All of this is the backdrop to the vignette-like trajectories of several main characters, each with their own unique role in the lycan conflict. Claire and Miriam, lycan relatives reunited after Claire’s parents are killed by a mysterious Tall Man; Patrick, the famous “Miracle Boy” survivor of an in-air lycan plane attack; Chase, the uncouth politician benefiting from the conflict and “Buffalo,” his sadistic sidekick. Through these characters and others, Percy sheds light on a country close to collapse, and a society on the verge of self-destruction.