Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8: A Night in the Lonesome October-fest




This review has a couple minor spoilers.

We open the chapter with Snuff drawing lines in his head, but before he can do much of anything, their new neighbor, Larry Talbot, arrives to say hello. Jack invites him in for tea. Snuff keeps his distance, smelling "an underlying suggestion of wildness" on this new arrival.

My rule of thumb is that if I encounter a character named Cassandra, I assume that she can see the future. If I encounter one named Eliza, I assume she's an AI. I could tiptoe around the issue, but it's hardly a revelation and it doesn't really affect the overall plot, so I'll come out and say it. Larry Talbot, he of the same name as the most famous movie werewolf, is, in fact a werewolf. It's only slightly less obvious than naming a werewolf Remus Lupin. On reflection, I'm not even sure it's supposed to be a surprise. It's not as obvious as who the Count is supposed to represent, but I'd imagine the name is fairly well-known to the audience for the book.



 



 While the two men are enjoying their tea, the Thing in the Wardrobe breaks loose. I really like Zelazny's account of Snuff's reaction, because I feel he paints a very vivid scene with just a few sentences.

Then came a terrible crash from the attic.I departed the room immediately, bounding up the stair, swinging around corners. Up another stair. . .
The wardrobe doors were open. The Thing stood before it."Free!" it announced, flexing its limbs, furling and unfurling its dark, scaly wings. "Free!"
"Like hell!" I said, curling back my lips and leaping. 
I caught it directly in the midsection, knocking it back into the wardrobe again. I slashed twice, left and right, as it sought to seize me. I dropped down and bit one of its legs. I roared and threw myself on it again, slashing faceward. 
It drew back, retreating to the rear of its prison, leaving a heavy scent of musk in the air. I shouldered the doors shut, reared up, and tried to close the latch with my paw. Jack entered just then and did it for me. He held his knife loosely in his right hand. 
"You are an exemplary watchdog, Snuff," he stated. 
A moment later Larry Talbot came in."Problems?" he said. "Anything I can help with?" 
The blade vanished before Jack turned. 
"No, thank you," he said. "It was less serious than it sounded. Shall we return to our tea?"

The vanishing knife reminds me of a similar scene in Jack of Shadows.

Snuff concludes that Larry is a part of the Game and knows that they are too. Larry offers his assistance and as much as says that he's a closer, and he knows that they are too. Snuff follows him to his home to verify that he lives where he says he does. Snuff then comes back home where Owen the Druid throws a drugged steak over the wall. Snuff smells the additives and buries it.

Quicklime is watching. They exchange a few words about Talbot. Quicklime observes that "Maybe he's his own best friend." and really, by the time the big reveal actually comes, the only surprise would have been if Talbot was NOT a werewolf.

Quicklime also mentions that Morris and MacCab threw Gray down a well. Snuff heads on over, rescues her. ("If you've ever tried turning a crank with your paws you know that it is rough work.") Grey mentions that this was in retribution for Jill filching some of their herbs which they had carelessly left outside. They discuss current events, and make plans to check out the Count's crypt.

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