Aphra's Child (Chimera One).
Aphra's Child (Chimera One)
Stone Cold Fox Press, 2018, pp233, [pounds sterling]9.99 978 0 9926514 7 3
A very long read featuring an intricate plot involving a host of characters which are listed and partially explained in a Cast List at the end of the book. The heroine, Tula, lives alone with her mother, Aphra. The community, which they appear to be on the periphery of, is a curious one. There are human beings and animals as we know them; there are also chimera who are part human, part animal and who are kept in the city as slaves. Aphra is a human being, but her daughter Tula, 16, is a chimera. Aphra has refused to tell her daughter who her father is but clearly he was a chimera. Relations between humans and chimera are forbidden and so Tula concludes that she is 'illegal'.
Aphra and Tula live alone in a cottage in Hidden Glen. No person has ever come into the Glen or the cottage until one day Tula hears a male voice in the cottage speaking to her mother; she is shocked to observe that he is neither human nor animal, but, like herself, a chimera. In 'the city' there is an area appropriately named Godforsakenland which is home to marauders, bandits and kidnappers. Tula has been warned by her mother to keep away from the city and from marauders, but the story opens with Aphra herself being abducted by a band of marauders. The narrative which follows recounts Tula's efforts to find and rescue her mother.
This is a novel which which will appeal to the more mature young adults, confident, competent readers willing to devote time and effort to following the intricacies of the plot and sensitive to the resonances with the real world: issues of racism, authoritarian government, protest groups. They will also enjoy the quality of the prose writing. On the other hand some readers might find the basic concept of this book somewhat disturbing.