A pleasantly surprising story. A hidden gem, very well written and very interesting. Jim Bentley goes about his business on a typical day: feeds his dog, makes plans to see a movie with his girlfriend, checks in with work at his nightjob at a 7-11, and then goes spelunking for the day. Then his life is turned upside down when he goes through some kind of weird portal in the cave. Everything looks different, species almost extinct on Earth are plentiful and he can't find a sign of his vehicle or anyone else. And then he meets a raccoon who is much larger than raccoons he knows, and who is much more intelligent - able to use sign language to communicate. Jim says "Need I say it? I was Charlton Heston. This was Planet of the Raccoons". I recommend this story because it was very well written - Jim's emotions are believeable and the pace in which he learns about the culture and assimilates the language and what has happened feels real. This is written from the first person objective of both Jim and Truck (the first raccoon he meets). A great deal of thought has gone into explaining the sign language of the raccoons and their verb/tenses, which I found to be fascinating. Their hierarchy and the tale of civil unrest and intrigue was fascinating as well. One warning - this book is the first part of a planned series and because of a disagreement with the publisher, there were no more books published. But Steven Boyett's website indicates that he is working on the sequel(s) and on publishing it/them. More on that here: http://www.steveboy.com/archetyp.html
The book was good; not great, not terrible, but good. Original ideas, well executed, good dialogue. The only reason I only rated it 3.5 stars was because it was obviously the first of two books and the second book was never published. There were too many loose ends at the end, too many plot lines left unfinished, to be truly satisfying; the book doesn't work very well on its own.
Interesting book. Talking raccoons and nasty llamas. Parallel worlds story. Good book.
Godd book - too bad the planned series did not occur