The Builders by Daniel Polansky is a novella about a group of mercenary animals on a mission of revenge. Led by a mouse, they are going after the ones who betrayed them years ago, which led them to lose the country they were fighting for and defending.
This rather dark and violent fantasy tale is very good. My biggest problem with it is that I wished there was more. One gets a good sense of the characters, but I wanted a longer read to really flesh out the characters. Each character is very diverse and reflective of the type of animal they are. Their fighting styles and personality are heavily based on what animal they are.
The Captain, depicted on the cover as a scarred mouse, uses his ability to predict behavior of others to keep the group alive. As he is naturally prey for some predators, he is very good at anticipating the actions of the predators in this novella. The rest of the group includes a stoat, a mole, an owl, a lizard, and more, are very different from each other and each has his or her own unique and helpful skill. This grim tale was very enjoyable for this reader despite the short length, but the ending is incredibly depressing.
Tom Doherty Associates (Tor)
Paperback (also available in audio and eBook formats)
My copy came from the Central or Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2021