Jane Lindskold, Changer (Eos, 1998)

This urban fantasy by Jane Lindskold is set in modern day New Mexico. In this world, immortals walk the Earth. Known as "athanor," they are governed by the legendary Arthur Pendragon, who is no longer a king, but rather an administrator in the athanor government who keeps harmony among them.

The athanor are immortal beings come in various forms, from humans to yeti, fauns, satyrs, animals and shapeshifters. The main story focuses on one of the oldest shapeshifters, simply known as the Changer. When the Changer's family is murdered except for his youngest daughter, the Changer leaves his wild life as a coyote, seeks the help of Arthur to avenge his family’s death, and, at the same time, contending with a six-month-old coyote pup.

The Changer, who usually maintains cursory involvement in the athanor government, finds himself involved in deep politicking and conspiracies against Arthur and the current government while trying to find his family's killer. Meanwhile, the non-human section (yetis, sasquatch, etc.) of the athanor are tired of hiding their existence from the human world, and want to be recognized. What all parties don't realize is that they are being manipulated by the darker side of the athanor population looking for their own personal gain. The Changer finds himself shapeshifting to various forms in order to track down his family's killer, save the current athanor administration from dissent and conspiracy, and the very harmony of the athanors themselves.

This book is a remarkable example of urban fantasy. The author incorporates a great amount of myth and legend -- from Gilgamesh to King Arthur's Camelot -- into the modern world making the book come alive; making our heros and villians of legend real people with many of the same problems that normal people have, just longer lived.

Magic and technology live side-by-side in this wonderful storytelling which will grab your imagination and not let you go. This is a story you won't be able to put down, and will leaving you wondering if there will be other books in the same series.

This book is highly recommended.

[ by Jade Falcon ]

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