By Tim Davys
Harper, Hardcover, 9780061797439, 384pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2010
A fast-paced literary and psychological drama in which the trials and tribulations of a group of stuffed animals illuminate the moral and philosophical dilemmas we all share
While finishing what was to be his greatest symphony, famed composer Reuben Walrus discovers he is going deaf. Desperate to stave off the encroaching silence, he embarks on an odyssey to find a fabled creature named Maximilian, rumored to have healing powers but only traceable via an underground network. But as Reuben gets closer to the truth, he must ask himself: Just whoor whatis Maximilian?
The story of the legendary creature is recorded by Wolf Diaz, Maximilian's oldest friend and most loyal follower. Oddly, unlike the other stuffed animals of Mollisan Town, Maximilian did not arrive by green delivery truck. He cannot be identified as any particular species and is made from a material unlike any other with almost invisible seams. And most puzzling, he grows in size. As Maximilian matures, he begins to preach odd parables, attracting a legion of followers hoping to learn from his teachings. But his believers aren't the only stuffed animals paying attention as his growing influence threatens the power of the darker forces currently ruling Mollisan Town. Now Maximilian is in hiding . . . and time is running out for Reuben to find him. As his search widens, the composer encounters a detective mouse, a giraffe who swears Maximilian miraculously cured his stomach cancer, and a mink who may hold the key to Reuben's salvation. But it's a race against time as Reuben's world steadily goes silent, and his desperation may ultimately lead to his undoing.
With biting prose and compelling plot twists, Lanceheim is a tour de force all the way to the last sentence, as the true natures of Wolf Diaz, Reuben Walrus, and Maximilian are uncovered. Through the stuffed animals living in the imaginative world he introduced in the critically acclaimed Amberville, Tim Davys explores the hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses, that define humanity as he pens a story that is both gripping and extraordinary.
“[In Lanceheim] Davys ups the ante in Mollisan Town…and meditates on the nature of sin and redemption from an appealingly fresh perspective.”