- € 10,99
"Archetypes of the cowboy story, tropes drawn from sci-fi, love letters, diaries, confessions all abound in this relentlessly engaging tale. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist’s imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing.”
--Keith Donohue, The Washington Post
Winner of Best of Region for the Southwest in PRINT’s 2016 Regional Design Awards
Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel of adventure, featuring hand-drawn maps and natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets and science-fictional diagrams, and even a nineteenth-century novel-within-a-novel—an intrigue wrapped in innovative design.
In 1843, fragile naturalist Zadock Thomas must leave his beloved in Chicago to deliver a secret letter to an infamous general on the front lines of the war over Texas. The fate of the volatile republic, along with Zadock’s future, depends on his mission. When a cloud of bats leads him off the trail, he happens upon something impossible...
Three hundred years later, the world has collapsed and the remnants of humanity cling to a strange society of paranoia. Zeke Thomas has inherited a sealed envelope from his grandfather, an esteemed senator. When that letter goes missing, Zeke engages a fomenting rebellion that could free him—if it doesn’t destroy his relationship, his family legacy, and the entire republic first.
As their stories overlap and history itself begins to unravel, a war in time erupts between a lost civilization, a forgotten future, and the chaos of the wild. Bats of the Republic is a masterful novel of adventure and science fiction, of elliptical history and dystopian struggle, and, at its riveting core, of love.
Dodson's debut is a creatively illustrated tale of letters lost and found in the vein of J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst's S. After a vague catastrophe called the Collapse decimates the United States, the survivors take refuge in seven city-states across the country and establish a totalitarian new regime. Citizens are grouped according to their "lifephase," all conversations are recorded and stored in "the Vault," and the country is run by a bloodline of seven senators. When one such senator dies, he bequeaths a sealed letter to his grandson, Zeke Thomas, which could cast doubt on the family's lineage and prevent him from eventually assuming power. The narrative alternates between Zeke's story, set in 2143 in a dystopian Texas teeming with political schemers and revolutionaries, and that of his ancestor, Zadock Thomas, set in 1840s Texas. Zadock is a young naturalist who, in order to secure a marriage blessing from his beloved's father, consents to undertake a dangerous mission for him: delivering a sealed letter to a Kurtz-like Texan general. Despite this urgent imperative, the naturalist redirects his energies and seeks to make a name for himself by documenting the undiscovered species of bats he finds in a vast underground cave. The stories elegantly fit together, but the novel is marred by wooden dialogue and the awkwardly expository nature of the prose (despite being in dire, time-sensitive situations, characters are always willing to recap events or spell out motives). The copious maps, illustrations, and found documents do add some flair, making this volume worth picking up for history and adventure fans.