‘Shadowline Drift’ by Alexes Razevich is an unusual story with compelling metaphysics and rich, beautifully written descriptions.
It’s the story of Jake, a man only three and a half feet tall, who has been sent to the Amazon to negotiate with the chief of a lost tribe for access to a mineral that could end world hunger—or so he thinks. What he finds is a world vastly different to the one he knows and a chief who is much more than he seems at first glance. The chief seems at first a trickster, then a magician, then perhaps a demon and finally an accidental traveller between universes. Jake comes to wonder what is real and what isn’t and questions his sanity many times before the story concludes.
After gaining access to the mineral, he discovers that it isn’t the God-send he thought it would be. Although not poisonous to animals, it is to humans. All those starving people will die unless Jake can warn those planning to distribute meat from animals fed on the stuff. Trouble is, everything seems to be conspiring against his bid to escape the forest and find a working telephone.
Razevich has done a fine job in creating a believable character and a world so clearly described that I can feel, hear and smell it as well as see it in my mind’s eye. Apart from the small size of the protagonist, the book starts off fairly ordinary, and I was not very taken with it in the first few pages. Once the chief takes Jake on a journey, however, the unique aspects of this book begin to appear and from that point on, Razevich gradually ramps up the tension until the climax where Jake struggles with the Shadowline—you have to read it to find out what that is.
I did wonder what about the Chief’s village. How did they get there? And what is their future without their chief? Perhaps they were an illusion? I would like to have had that tied up.
The book isn’t very long, perhaps a two-nighter, and it’s well worth a read, especially for those interested in metaphysics. I would like to read more from this author.