Excerpt from Night of the Animals by Bill Broun, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Night of the Animals

by Bill Broun

Night of the Animals by Bill Broun X
Night of the Animals by Bill Broun
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2016, 560 pages

    Apr 2017, 592 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky
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Getting to this secret spot, a maneuver he had practiced twice that week, seemed far more difficult this evening; he felt as if he were crawling under a duvet stuffed with plaited, stinging sticks. He had ducked and shoved in, stolid and elephantine, but come to a real sticking spot. He must move fast. If a passer-by spotted him—a fat man splayed in the hedges—undoubtedly a commotion would ensue. If that happened, everything ended. His grand plan to free all the animals would die.

It was with this realization that something truly unaccountable appeared before Cuthbert, within the hedges. All at once, a broad and robust figure, in the shadows of the leaves and branches, crept upon him. A nimbus of golden-green air surrounded him. Cuthbert began to quake in terror, his neck hair standing on end.

"You!" cried Cuthbert. "You there!"

The figure seemed to have actually sprouted from the ground within the hedges, a massive yew tree dotted with angry red berries. For a moment, it spumed in all directions, chaotically, a flutter of spinning green boughs with handfuls of black soil and nightlarks and tiny owls bursting from it. A multitude of small, dark animals—they resembled hares made of shadow—poured out from its base and took off into the night air, where they dissolved. The great yew-tree figure moved toward Cuthbert, who could barely breathe, such was his dread.

"What do you want from me?" he asked.

The figure replied, "Gagoga." The voice was unlike all the other animals he had been hearing. This one was familiar, yet oddly muffled. It was like code from some enormous forest, a code spoken from beneath one of its deepest, darkest brooks.

Cuthbert whispered, "Drystan?"

* Welfare benefit
** A buttered bread roll stuffed with French fried potatoes, i.e., chips, often served with brown sauce or ketchup
† To obtain for free, often by trickery
*** A form of public mass transport with bosonic particle-based engines

From Night of the Animals by Bill Broun. 2016 by William Douglas Broun. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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