A novel sees a reporter trying to uncover the truth about his planet and its many secret inhabitants.
A’eiio and her husband, E’iouy, are fairies. They’ve been exiled by intergalactic Wardens to a planet where they don flesh suits to hide among the locals. Tonight, they’re attending an award ceremony at the Congress of Nations building in their guises of Sen. Deborah Bright and her husband, Marc. But before the senator can receive her award for saving children in conflict zones, a waiter accidentally hits her face with a tray. Her disguise rips, and she flees to a secluded room. As she spreads her wings to escape from a window, a drunken guest spots her. The man, Jack March, is a recently laid-off reporter for the Capital Herald. Deborah and Marc do what any Mythical must in this situation—neutralize the witness. They call in Sam, an irresistible pixie, to seduce and discredit Jack. Meanwhile, Sen. Warren F. Lee, secretly a werewolf, pressures Deborah to support increased military spending. Yet she knows that this won’t help the Mythicals’ ultimate goal: “to guide the planet toward a lasting, planetary peace.” But military aid may be a moot point if the Wardens declare the Mythicals’ hosts to be a “terminal species,” too destructive to continue. In this wickedly clever adventure, Meredith (The Neuromorphs, 2018, etc.) adds political and environmental savvy for good measure. While the Mythicals—including Mike the ogre and Steve the troll—are exiles from various home worlds, each race (except the werewolves) has triumphed over its worst tendencies. As Lee tells the humans, “Many of your signal technological achievements...enhance your ability to kill.” Fans should delight in the author’s genre subversion, like his elves, which are really the bulb-headed aliens of modern folklore. There’s also a randy sense of humor in the Mythicals’ commitment to nudity. Plot points like the Genetic Fitness Law, which would place women in charge worldwide, will stir healthy debate. Best of all is the twist involving a hidden race of Pilgrims, which slams home an environmental lesson in a manner that few novels attempt.
A meticulously orchestrated genre mashup with an urgent, heartfelt message.