Relations between the ruling class and the working public have all but failed. Government corruption is rampant and the king is oblivious to the snakes within his council. The king turns to his brothers for aid, but rivalry among royal blood proves to provoke old hatreds. One crusader for the people remains, but as the only lady within the king’s court, no man is willing to listen. Gertrude knows that unless she can help enact rapid and drastic changes to tame the beasts within their government, the country she loves will be lost to the animal court.
S. Faxon is an award winning author, publisher, and creative warrior.
She's a member of the Horror Writing Association, served as the President of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild, and is a founding member of the Semi-Sages of the Pages, a writing podcast group. She also co-founded No Bad Books Press, LLC with her writing and business partner, Theresa Halvorsen.
She teaches English Language Arts to high schoolers and is grateful every day to work with the next generations of readers and writers.
I loved this book! I am not generally a big fan of this genre, but right from the beginning I was hooked. I enjoyed many great aspects of the story, including the character development, the story line, and even the unexpected plot twists. The characters seemed so real and relatable, I felt like I knew them already. I’m truly looking forward to the sequel, as I believe this author has a tremendous future in storytelling. I highly recommend this book!
I don’t often read fantasy novels, but this one kept my attention.
I read at night. And while I am always eager to get back to the stories when my nightly reading time comes around, I found myself often thinking about Gertrude, Sam, and Breyton during the day. Faxon’s fantasy world includes some fantastical flying horses and a new geography to learn, but her use of Russian and Biblical names for her characters helped me distinguish among them with no difficulty. The many references to conditions evoking images of Medieval Europe also enhanced my understanding of the surroundings. Anyone who enjoys tales of King Arthur’s Court and similar stories should enjoy The Animal Kingdom.
Although not my usual genre, I still enjoyed this first novel by the writer. I had a little hard time getting into it but soon I was committed to the characters. By the end, I was left wondering what would happen next. Anxiously awaiting the sequel!
I have many reasons why I absolutely could not give 5 stars, and just as many why I should not have given 4. But I gave 4 stars in support and recognition of an author that put forth allot of effort into telling a good story that occupied my mind for a few days. I will be getting the sequel and I am still recommending this to my book club. I look forward to reading the prequel, and experiencing the author’s literary growth.
The Animal Court is a riveting story about a fictional country going through the throes of insurrection. Reading it while America goes through its own insurrection produced an extraordinary feeling, because our insurrectionists took up arms on the basis of lies and misinformation, while the fictional ones had legitimate motivation – they were being starved by their own uncaring government.
Nonetheless, the plot flowed from start to finish, with plenty of action, a lot of vivid description to put the readers in the locales featured in the story, and a romance to provide the lighter “catch-your-breath” moments. All the major characters are well fleshed out, from King Herod and his better brother Brayton to their ne’er-do-well brother Donovan; Gertrude, the advisor to the king who is strong, wise and not listened to; and Sam, Gertrude’s protector and longtime lover. The protagonists – Absalom and Donovan – get less play but are still presented well enough for readers to understand their motivations. Gertrude’s mother Galina was, to me, the most interesting character among the supporting cast, as Absalom’s ex-wife and what passes for a doctor in this realm.
Readers aren’t told which world this story takes place in, but the equivalent on Earth would be England in the medieval age, based on modes of transportation, the weaponry used and the structure of government. The “animal court” is the author’s creative way of analogizing the members of a House of Lords-type body and various court hangers-on and hopefuls to animals familiar to us today.
All told, The Animal Court is an absorbing take on corrupt government and the few people who try to rise above it. Well worth reading, especially in the era we find ourselves in now. And the best thing is that this book is the first in a series.
What stands out in this novel the well-developed characters. I felt like I knew most of the primary players well. I was particularly fond of the protagonist, Gertrude. She is vulnerable, strong, and real. She evolves as a person as the story progresses. The villains were really great. I hated them! The author envelopes the reader efficiently describing the settings and characters. Though somewhat fanciful, the very real lives and overwhelming challenges faced by the players are cathartic, sweeping the reader up into the story.
Animal Court is featured in the San Diego Library Local Author Showcase, so I was excited to read the book. Author S. Faxon weaves an intricate tapestry of political intrigue in her novel.
Gertrude, the protagonist, is a smart woman who has many ideas to improve the lives of the people of Vitenka. If only the men around her listened to her.
I liked how the author equates the royal court to a court of animals. A weak king Herod, conspirers plotting for their own wealth and success, men waiting in the wings to seize power when the king fails, and a political uprising serves as the backdrop to the tale.
Not only does Gertrude need to unravel the web of treachery. She also needs to listen to her heart. Both are easier said than done.
A weighty set of supporting characters in Galina, Sam, Absalom, Herod, and Breyton keep us engaged and hooked to the story unfolding on the pages. Gertrude is a flawed character with a heart, and that makes her all the more interesting. Plenty of action, drama, and love to get us to turn the pages. Writing a satisfactory ending in a tale like this is not trivial, and the author pulls it off.
Recommend: For readers of political intrigues, historical fiction, and lovers of the game of thrones.
The Animal Court presents a country on the verge of collapse, on the verge of revolution. With a strong class society, the rich and powerful think they hold the control, while the working class are starving. Gertrude can see the writing on the wall, and is desperate to hold her country together and save the ruling class from themselves.
Gertrude is one of my favorite characters of all time in one of my favorite worlds. This is a great introduction to a intricate world. I love that this story goes into the nuances and complexities of politics. I can not recommend this book enough!!!