Harbouring a dark secret from his past, immortal Lord Blake from medieval England arrives mysteriously in a sleepy coastal town in Georgia, USA. There he meets Hugo Wegener, an ex-doctor who is burdened with his own dark secret, and life-long resident Ginny Harrison, who is involved in her aging father’s absurd dream of refurbishing and reopening the town’s long-defunct zoo. As Blake’s relationship with Ginny blooms, he finds himself involved in the insane zoo project and, when Bruce Kelly, an exotic game smuggler from South Africa, arrives in town on the eve of the grand reopening with a plan to rid the zoo of its valuable animal species, it is up to Blake, Hugo, and the old man to stop him, without revealing the terrible secrets of their pasts.
Mac Altgelt was born and raised in Texas where he lives with his wife. While a Risk Manager by trade, he is long-time writer of blogs, short stories, movie scripts and poetry, a musician and a short-film maker. More than anything he loves to travel and has spanned 6 of the 7 continents which gives him a unique insight into the workings of the world through a lens of many different cultures.
In the Beast’s Cage was an expected surprise as it integrated fantasy in a more historical contemporary environment making it a perfect novel for those that want to try a fantasy read. When the story opens in the prologue, I was immediately captivated by the writing as it made me want to keep reading to find out more. It was a very unusual introduction as it is not immediately apparent how the events in the prologue would relate to the main story. However, everything comes together nicely and all the pieces were put together well making this an excellent read.
There are six characters that become the center of the story. The first one is our main character, Ainsley Blake. He is a rare supernatural immortal that has relocated to small town Georgia outside of Atlanta from London to start again and live a quiet life. He meets Dr. Hugo Wegener, a being like himself. Next is our love interest, Virginia (“Ginny”) Harrison and her father, who has just bought the rundown soon and wants to use this opportunity with his daughter to make it the best, and even a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Ginny works part time at the Marina with her second father-like figure, Dub. The final one is Bruce Kelly, a professional poacher. He begins his journey in the Amazon where he is capturing various species. He gets wind of a zoo full of exotic animals that could fetch a high price on the black market and works to find his way to Georgia.
I loved all the characters in this one as both the heroes and villains were complex characters. The reader knows just enough about each without taking away from the story. There are flashbacks that also assist with getting to know the characters that gave them additional layers. Ginny and Blake were adorable together as they had good chemistry and I liked the two of them getting to know each other, even though Blake harbors his secret. I especially loved their shared love of literature.
Overall, the novel had a great pace and has a well put-together plot. I planned to read this in multiple sittings and ended up reading this all at once. I loved how Blake knows the dangers he potentially poses and how he tries to find out if life is better alone or if it is possible to be with others. The story was an excellent debut novel and I am definitely intrigued to read more from this author!
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**