Ever since I first bumped into the character of Cinrak the Dapper (which was in Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)), I needed more of the capybara pirate joy energy in my life. Luckily, A.J. Fitzwater is there for me, and can be there for you, too. The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper is a collection of tales about the anthropomorphized capybara in question, and we last saw Cinrak as she began her pirate career.
In “Perfidity at the Felidae Isles” we advance some years, and now Cinrak is the leader of an organization (but not overtly) as well as a pirate captain, and she and her opera performer lover are about to attend a high-stakes diplomatic meeting between the local major powers, including the Felidae (and, since they’re cat-folk, you can imagine how their history has gone with the other rodent-like-folk, so this is a big deal that they’re coming to the table for talks). Alas, right before the talks are to begin, Cinrak is woken up by a phoenix friend who delivers a prophecy—there’s murder coming!—and then collapses into ash.
She’s a phoenix, so she’ll be fine, but in the meanwhile, Cinrak has a murder to try and stop, major talks to try and bring to a positive conclusion, and a sense in the salt-magic she possesses that something is very, very wrong. The characterization in this story is so wonderfully done and often lovingly humorous (the phoenix keeps immolating because she’s menopausal and the heat flashes are setting her off), and the mystery of the upcoming murder itself has enough twists born from the world-building to be satisfying. Also, while we get to meet a few new characters, and check in with some we’ve already met, things are always advancing in Cinrak’s world, so the tails (sorry, tales) move ever onward.
And, as a bonus, once again I’ve got A.J. dropping by to explain where this particular tale was born…
From the author:
What is a rodent’s biggest predator? Cats! I wanted to ask the question “What would a rodent world be like if they made friends with felines?” All sorts of questions sprung from that: What was their history like? How did they get to a place of making such a treaty? Who would be against a rodent-cat utopia? And what would the struggle to change one’s instincts look like?
Yeah, this is a metaphor for wondering if the patriarchy can pull their socks up.
Cats are so Extra. I had fun writing Rozo all mascara side eye and cool tail flick. Rozo is definitely Felidae’s Next Top Drag Superstar.
Muriel is a character I’ve had on my mind for a very long time. A menopausal phoenix – the comedy writes itself. Also a good excuse to bring in (another) female character of wisdom and years. All my femme characters are experts in their chosen fields, even if they use that expertise against others (looking at you, Helet).