Yeah, kinda like that…only not.
Latest book: “Shifter,” by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Some of you Trek types might recognize this pair as two of those folks who get paid for writing published fan fic. This is an original fiction piece by them, part of a series of books sub-titled “The Chronicles of Galen Sword.” Galen Sword is a rich ne’er-do-well @sshole who one fine day wraps his sportscar around a telephone poll and almost dies, save for a mysterious man who comes to him in the hospital and restores his body to health with a glowy “blue power.”
After years of investigation (making very little progress) into the paranormal, Galen discovers with the help of his rather motely team of assembled cohorts that the mystery man was his younger brother, and that he is in fact not from Earth, but another place called “The First World” (Earth is “The Second World”) which sounds something like another dimension. At any rate, this First World place is the source of all manner of creatures who have traveled to Earth and subsequently ended up as legends in human lore (vampires, werewolves, etc.) They travel freely from their world to ours, and exist below the radar/hiding in plain sight while among us. The “shifters” of the title are a race of were-creatures who go from animal form to human form, and are the first race of the First World Galen meets in his quest to find out about his mysterious healing experience.
Galen himself isn’t a were-creature, but part of another Clan of the First World, one that has been virtually wiped out by its enemies save for a few people–Galen, who was banished as a child because he was too human, his brother, whose story we never really get, and a traitor who sold them out to their enemies. Not only that, but Galen was heir to the leadership of his clan (butofcourse) and he has a destiny to help bring them back from near extinction. This doesn’t happen in book 1. Mostly what happens is Galen sees to it that the Shifters, who destroyed his own clan, are themselves massacred at the hands of one of their other enemies.
I may try to track down more books in this series, although the SF library doesn’t have any of them, just to see what becomes of ol’ Galen (why oh why do I read obscure pulp fiction novels I found on the bottom shelf of a basement rack in a used bookstore!?). The book has a quite a few elements that aren’t to my taste, but it deals in themes that I find myself drawn to over and over again and would love to have in my own fiction (should I either (a) finish a novel, or (b) start a new one in the first place).
These themes include the hidden supernatural world existing within our own world, the banished/escaped/relocated native of that supernatural world (or his/her half-breed children) living on our contemporary Earth, often not knowing about their supernatural origins, but discovering them during the course of the novel, or, alternatively, an ordinary human character of invitation stumbling upon a hidden supernatural world on our contemporary Earth, which we then discover right along side him/her. In the case of the native who discovers their real heritage, the journey of the novel is then an exploration of personal identity, how they deal with (or don’t, or learn to deal with) discovering they are not what they thought they were at all. Often the book ends with them having to play the champion/messiah of either their own people or human beings in some kind of supernatural struggle.
You can see where I get my fondness for the stories of Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Connor Reilly, Luke Skywalker, Duncan McLeod (or more to the point, Richie Ryan), the Clarke family (“Taken”), etc. I have been drawn to this type of story since I saw the movie Escape to Witch Mountain back in the Neolithic Era.
I just wish I could start getting some character and plot bunnies for a story of my *own* with these themes.
“A Wizard of Earthsea”, Ursula Le Guin
“Proven Guilty”, Jim Butcher
“Dreamchild”, Hilary Hemingway and Jeffry P. Lindsay
“Guilty Pleasures”, Laurell K. Hamilton
“The War for the Oaks,” Emma Bull
“Shifter,” by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens