D’arc, by Robert Repino is a tale with amazing and natural twists. A story with stakes both subtle and serious, all narrated in prose as fluid as the running water of a summer stream. Marvel with me, if you will. Gaze upon the cover and feel your breath pause. Then open the pages and pay homage to the anthropomorphic epic that may transform furry literature as we know it.
D’arc is the third installment of Repino’s furry sci-fi saga about former house cat Mort(e) and his life in the War With No Name. In this world, animals were subservient to humans, but events saw them develop sentience and they now live alongside their former masters. By this book, human and animal have allied in a war against the Sarcops, crablike amphibians fighting to overthrow the monsters above the sea. It’s a little confusing at first, but newcomers have no worries, as Repino’s amazing skill will familiarize you to his world before you know it.
D’arc is a fairly standard war novel in that it integrates many war themes: death, the id, xenophobia, negotiations, the struggle for personal civility, dehumanization, survival, the permanence of war on the psyche, and the divide between the veteran soldier and the uninitiated. What really makes D’arc stand out is the masterful, understated skill with which Repino utilizes his craft. Many a reviewer have compared Repino to famous works only to claim he bests them all. His work is truly unique and really hits home the idea that our real world is not in black and white. Where our mammal heroes seem quirky and righteous, we soon tilt to the other side and see the Sarcops’ rational struggle to live. And you will come to respect both sides. There is a dimensionality in these characters and their motives that are so finely crafted that they weave seamlessly into a natural, believable storyline.
And what a story! Repino’s ability to guide the plot from one event to another is admirable from one perspective. In this story, you get five. You’ve probably guessed Mort(e). The others you’ll have to find out yourself, via Google or your own reading experience. I can’t duly explain the steadfast beavers’ need for Mort(e)’s legendary reputation, the gigantic tarantula terrorizing a city, the complicated history between human and animal, the differences that begin to rift Mort(e) from his mate, the delightful guest-star appearances of the stolid and bargaining Gaunt, and how all this and more twine together into an amazing piece. Let the piece say it for you. Find those two blue eyes staring back at you and take it off the shelf. D’arc is a truly impressive feat that’s been praised by critics up and down. As Samuel Sattin says, “D’Arc won’t just delight your senses, it will change the way you think about storytelling.”