|In Moon's Fury, Adams and Clamp return to the world of the Sazi, shape-shifting creatures of different species who co-inhabit with humans. It isn't always easy to grasp the politics that govern the relationships between the numerous packs, people and species, but it is certainly worth the attempt.
Cara Salinas is the deputy sheriff in a small town in Texas as well as the alpha wolf of a small Mexican red-wolf pack in the same area. She's not as confident as a leader and enforcer should be, but she does try to do the best for her pack-members. When a representative of the Sazi council informs her that a pack of Minnesota timber wolves will be immigrating to Texas, she is naturally anxious about the consequences to her family and community. She won't let her attraction to Adam Mueller, who is to lead this expatriated group, get in the way of her other obligations. Not entirely, anyway.
Before Adam and Cara can deal with this problem, others emerge. They have to investigate three murders caused by shape-shifting Sazi and get to the bottom of what looks like a girl-smuggling ring. It also turns out that someone never expected Adam to succeed in his mission in Texas. He must cut short his stay to clean up another, possibly related, mess back home.
Finally, Cara has a more personal issue that has to do with being half-wolf and an alpha female at that: she can't always control her animal instincts and the magnetic pull her hormones have on all surrounding males. Aside from the fact that she's seen what such a condition did to her mother and father, she doesn't want it to get in the way of any future relationship with Adam.
By focusing on complicated pack politics and on the difficulties of balancing a human and an animal self, Adams and Clamp have created a fascinating but credible world. As they struggle to do the right thing for themselves and their pack-members, Cara, Adam and their Sazi allies confront fairly complex issues related to leadership, community, and individual freedom. Similar questions have plagued more than one sociologist and political theorist. While the novel doesn't engage (and rightly so) in heavy-duty theorizing, it doesn't reach for simplistic solutions. The Sazi leadership acknowledges the pitfalls that necessarily follow any decision taken. This makes for a thought-provoking but riveting read. It also results in characters who are far more multi-facetted than the average super-powered paranormal creations.
Needless to say, Moon's Fury has several different story lines going. This helps maintain the pace, but it isn't always a smooth ride. New characters keep appearing. Some of them will be familiar to fans, who may well delight in seeing old favorites in new roles. As a first-time reader, I had a much harder time understanding their relevance and their purpose.
There were also moments when I seriously doubted the major mystery would be resolved. In fact, I can't say that I closed the book completely satisfied, at least where the suspense plot was concerned. Enough questions are left open to warrant at least one other book. No matter how much I like this alternate world, I prefer a more stand-alone approach. After all, the Sazi are compelling enough to draw me back on their own merit.