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Caracal

Novel by Guy N Smith (England) 1980.

When Bilal, a young Pakistani, signs various official documents in order to get to Britain ('the promised land'), he doesn't realise that he's being manipulated for cheap labour and will soon become an illegal immigrant on the run from the authorities. He also doesn't realise that his pet caracal - a wild cat that is often domesticated back home - will return to its natural wild state if and when it doesn't receive the necessary training. And in the Welsh border hills there's plenty of space for it to hide. After it mauls a few sheep and pheasants, the hunt is on before it graduates to human meat.

Probably the most revealing book that Guy Smith has written thus far, with quite a few autobiographical snippets from the author. Smith is a veteran farmer and shooter, and is the author of numerous non fiction works on wildlife, the countryside and field sports. His unpublished first novel, Starlite, tells of the adventures of a gamekeeper, and he's touched on the subject many more times in his numerous horror novels. But never have all of his favourite subjects got such a good showing as in Caracal where they are of course set against his traditional animals-on-the-rampage storyline. Unintended prophecy also plays a part: Smith based his novel on the frequent sightings of big cats running wild in this country (a long term interest), not guessing that a decade and a half later there would be one spotted walking through the streets of Knighton, not far from where Caracal is set. Now he has his own puma cage, and is eager to trap his own 'non-existent' big cat. Regular GNS fans will know exactly what to expect here and they won't be disappointed, readers new to the author will find possibly their best introduction to his work after the essential Night of the Crabs.


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