Bobcat just wants to hang out and have fun rolling in catnip, loving his rabbit girlfriend, playing pranks, and betting on otter polo matches. Then his friend Skink loses his luck, an omen of terrible destruction, and Bobcat himself is visited by a horrific vision of a burning jaguar that inflicts real wounds. They consult the shaman, Fisher, and the omens are confirmed. The Blood Jaguar, the thirteen Curial, or god, is returning to inflict a plague that will kill almost everyone in the world. And when the Blood Jaguar returns, a bobcat, a skink, and a fisher must go on a quest to stop her and prevent the plague. The quest has always failed. Why should this one succeed?
The Blood Jaguar will doubtless be likened to classic talking-animal novels like Watership Down and the Redwall series, but those are not entirely valid comparisons. The Blood Jaguar investigates the nature of magic, of reality, and of divinity, penetrating levels of meaning and truth. Appropriately, the nature of the novel changes until it can be read with equal validity as fantasy, alternate history, or science fiction. This is a fine book for both adults and youngsters, both animal fantasy fans and science fiction fans, both action/adventure readers and philosophical seekers. Michael H. Payne's first novel is multilayered and remarkable. --Cynthia Ward
"To call The Blood Jaguar a talking animal fable for adults would be both true and misleading, like calling Moby Dick a whaling adventure novel. These talking animals are variously hip, intellectually subtle, cynical, mystical, and portrayed with real characteroloigcal depth. Bobcat, the main catnip-head protagonist, may be superficially reminiscent of Fritz the cat, but emerges as a true hero in the archetypal sense. The novel has plenty of humorous moments, but these water run deep. The Blood Jaguar is the sort of thing for which the word 'sui generis' was invented. Believe me, I have never read anything like it before, and neither have you."--Norman Spinrad