Legend speaks of a time when The Blood Jaguar, bringer of death, comes to claim the lives of millions in one sweep of her fiery claws. It is said that a solitary champion will arise to stand against her, willing to lay down his life to preserve the lives of others. This brave, selfless individual will be a bobcat.
Unfortunately, the bobcat who finds himself unwillingly entangled in the matter is none of the above. All he wants from life is a leisurely day of doing anything he pleases, a roll of good catnip in the evening, and plenty of time to sleep if off before starting all over again. His preferred solution to being saddled with terrifying visions of death incarnate is to increase the quantity of the last two and hope to forget all about it.
Driven to action by Fisher, the local shaman, and Skink, a lizard intellectual, Bobcat must face mythical forces he's never believed in and accept a destiny he's convinced is a mistake, all to save a world he's certain thinks less of him than he does of himself. After all, he's failed at everything in life so far: how could this possibly turn out different?
The Blood Jaguar is a high fantasy story where the grand events so common to the genre take a back seat to the main character's evolution as an individual. At each new turn of the road or obstacle Bobcat faces, the most significant battles he fights are with his own perceptions of himself and the world around him. While the plotline has novel twists and turns of its own, readers expecting a traditional fantasy epic are liable to be a little surprised. Bobcat's journey has more in common with Thomas Covenant than with Frodo Baggins; but, for all his flaws, his heart is always ultimately in the right place.
Originally published by Tor Fantasy in 1998, The Blood Jaguar was Michael H. Payne's first published novel. It has been re-released with all new cover and interior art by Lauren Henderson (aka: "Louvelex") to accompany his second novel in the Around About Ottersgate series, Rat's Reputation, also published by Sofawolf Press.