Review: The Crimson Soul of Nathan Greene – A Tale of The Empty
I am already a huge fan of Thom Reese, and have enjoyed his other books. I could not resist when I saw this short story. This is my first venture into the world of the reyaqc, and it immediately intrigued me. I love the idea of an alien species that has quietly been living among humans since ancient times. Our hero, Nathan, has chosen the more “civilized” side of being reyaqc and is trying to blend in with the humans as much as possible. He finds himself in the war-torn country of Viet Nam during the war, and he witnesses the atrocities that are taking place. After an encounter with a female reyaqc named Tuyen, Nathan finds himself drawn to the darker side of his species, the “molts,” who draw animal essence rather than human essence to survive. The “molts” end up as a rather monstrous hybrid of human and animal, with pieces and parts put together almost haphazardly. The staged fights between molts is hugely popular, and Nathan finds himself in the cage. The psychological downward spiral of our hero reveals that in the end, we are all fallible. And while Nathan believes he has learned that his core character is a monster, the story left me with the hope that he would find himself and his civility again.
This story is truly a remarkable combination of science fiction and horror. I have the book The Empty next on my “to read” list, and can’t wait to venture further into the story of the reyaqc.