Travel the wyrmholes
& you will find Fabletown
or the wizard's League.
Talking about the Boy Scouts always invokes a mixed bag of memories, for me. On one hand, being taught to shot rifles, start fires, use a bow & arrow, all that-- grand & wonderful. For my entire teenage experience-- any age with the word "teen" in it-- I was going camping once ever three weeks or so. & I'm not talking about knocking off to a cabin with modern amenities, either-- we'd do survival camping in the middle of winter, or canoe through Canadian headwaters for a week, all kinds of the more hardcore things you might imagine a bunch of Boy Scouts doing. I've got woods-craft in the back of my skull. On the flip side, well-- remember how I went up for my Life & was denied because I wasn't morally straight? By which they meant "was an atheist." & then was sort of pushed out? I remember that. & you know what? That was perfectly in line with Boy Scout policies. Religious discrimination? Not very cool, but that hardly compares to the virulent intolerance the Boy Scouts have towards people whose sexual preference they don't agree with. & lets not even mention the gender division. So yeah. In the end, I have to come down against the Boy Scouts. Maybe someday there will be a Scouts that is worthy of itself. A Scouts that takes in everybody & teaches them ethics, skills, & fun. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
Max the Wolf is the kind of Scout they'd produce. He's the boy detective-- what if Robin was a Tenderfoot, & the Patrol Leader of the Wolf Patrol? Well, that'd be Max. Max wakes up with no sense of how he got to where he is-- no memories, no notions, & he is pretty sure he isn't dreaming. The talking badger makes him check again, but no-- he can't wake up. For better or worse, sane or insane, this appears to be happening. Banderbrock is a soldier who follows the ways of the first badger, & he is the first friend Max gets in the strange wood. The next is McTavish the Monster-- a giant sized feral housecat-- who is fleeing a grim knight with a glowing blue sword. He is a Cutter, a revisionist, & there are whole armies of his kind. Max, Banderbrock & McTavish defeat him & escape-- & meet the last member of their band, the gentle bear Walden, former sheriff of the Grand Green. The four of them are on a quest of the simplest kind-- they want to find safety from the Blue Cutters. Along the way, of course Max can't help but do a little sleuthing, figuring out the mystery of their missing memories along the way. I liked this middle-grade book, & I've got a simple test to tell if you might enjoy it as well. Do you like Neil Gaiman's The Sandman? If the answer is yes, then a trip Down the Mysterly River is right for you.