In the near future, London labors under the rule of a brutal king. Suicide cults, spawned in America, are making their way around the world on a mission to kill animals as part of their path to ascendance. While technological marvels abound, access to them has been corrupted in ways that reward the rich and punish the poor.
At the bottom of this decadent society exist the Indigents, a growing segment of people addicted to an insidious hallucinogen, Flôt. Among the lowest of these poor and lost is Cuthbert Handley, whose life was upended when a childhood accident claimed his beloved brother decades earlier. Now homeless and deep in the clutches of a Flôt addiction, Cuthbert begins to hear the voices of animals in the London Zoo, which has become the last repository of many species on Earth. Their calls drive Cuthbert to an action that will either plunge society into chaos, or save it.
A magnificently textured story, Night of the Animals benefits from author Bill Broun’s liberal use of Midlands dialect, which reinforces Cuthbert’s unshakable connection to his past and its native folklore. Likewise, the animals’ speech is tethered to their origins and experience. As the distinction between the voices of the creatures and the internal whispers of Cuthbert’s addiction fades, Broun maintains a remarkable balance between magic and madness. This strange tale is both cautionary and captivating.