The story of a king and queen, a priest, a dragon, a courageous monkey, and a wily girl who lives in the wilderness.
A king who seeks to keep his kingdom safe and immaculate orders the destruction of a flower that he regards as pernicious weed, but soon finds that he has awakened the dragon who sleeps beneath a nearby mountain. The dragon takes her revenge on the king by eating his favorite horse and turning his firstborn son into a monkey. The king's angry reaction to this sets in motion a chain of events that will destroy his kingdom and scatter its people in all directions. In the midst of these events the young monkey will discover the pain of loss, the joy of love, and the secret of who he is.
“THE MIRROR & THE MONKEY has the rhythms and imagery of the real deal — a legend that has been passed along orally beside campfires and bardic hearths.” —David Brin, author of The Postman and Brightness Reef
“Deese’s original and entertaining fable lacks for nothing. THE MIRROR AND THE MONKEY will enchant children and the adults who read it with them; neither is going to want to put it down. The story is both new and old, full of novelties yet awash in motifs warm from the folk unconscious. Each episode is introduced with verses that feel gnomic and ancient along with graphics that recall the illustrators of a century ago and the best comic book art. Deese’s plot runs swiftly through family violence, utopian dreams, virgin sacrifice, displays of expert archery, intelligent beasts, foolish humans, and young lovers stumbling toward one another over all kinds of obstacles. The monkey-prince is the author’s memorable hero, but readers will not soon forget his metamorphic dragon or one humble and indestructible weed.” —Robert Wexelblatt, author of Hsi-wei Tales
“This memorable tale enchants the reader with stories within stories, dreams within dreams, and worlds within worlds where curious creatures, who dwell both within and without other magical creatures, come alive on the page. Deese’s fairy tale glistens with the glow of miracles.” —Lisa H. Sideris, author of Consecrating Science: Wonder, Knowledge, and the Natural World
“THE MIRROR & THE MONKEY combines myth, poetry, and richly detailed worldbuilding. An intensely imagined, emotionally engaging narrative, reminiscent of the early pulp fantasists, but with a 21st Century sensibility.” —Regina M. Hansen, author of The Coming Storm
R. S. Deese grew up in Claremont, California. He currently teaches History at Boston University and is the author of We Are Amphibians: Julian and Aldous Huxley on the Future of Our Species (University of California Press, 2014) and SURF MUSIC (Pelekinesis, 2017). His poetry has been published in AGNI, Berkeley Poetry Review, MungBeing, The New Formalist, Poetry Motel, and The Quarterly.