Black Menace: Scourge of an Apocalyptic World


The environment thriller, Black Menace, is like the Lord of the Rings meets Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of NOW. The difference is the protagonist lives in an apocalyptic world and is a bird, a moorhen, a small black duck-like wading bird with a red beak reaching to his forehead. Moorhens barely fly and mate for life. As a young bird, Mik is traumatized after his family is devoured by an alligator. He suffers loneliness and depression which leads to cocky arrogance. His obnoxious behavior causes him to discount advice from a tall friendly limpkin, Coal, about traveling north where Mik experiences a frightening encounter in the Dark Marsh.

Many predators assault Mik on the lake. The worst is Greybeard, an evil great blue heron who rules a flock of large muscovy ducks by threatening to eat their chicks. Unbeknownst to greybeard, he is under the spell of the wicked Black Menace. Mik is befriended by a great white heron, the Sage, the victor of The Battle of the Dark Marsh. A battle the Sage almost lost but for the last-minute intervention of two large clans of moorhens. Owing a debt to Mik’s family, the Sage helps Mik survive, grow and move to the south end of the lake by passing under an ancient and perilous Wide Bridge being guarded by Greybeard’s Muscovy minions.

Upon reaching the south, the mischievous moorhen, Mik, finds himself at odds with its inhabitants, especially female moorhens, one of the inducements used by the Sage to move him south. Eventually, Mik meets Bek, a strong-willed female moorhen with no intention of getting involved with a ruffian runt from north of the Wide Bridge. In order to mate the pair, the Sage teaches them mindfulness, a practice he learned from the Ancient One, a great white heron living on an island in the Great Salt Sea. After being taught mindfulness, Mik and Bek reconcile their differences, mate, and start a family. The pair soon learns it is not easy raising a brood to maturity surrounded by predators and especially with Greybeard constantly on the prowl.

Greybeard’s intentions are to control the lake. As punishment for allowing Mik to escape under the Wide Bridge, he eats the commander’s chicks, drowns him in the Dark Marsh, and appoints, Juul, as the New Commander of the muscovy army. At the same time, he forces, Zignoid, an Ibis, to spy on the south end of the lake.

Skirmishes occur between the muscovy army and the birds in the south, including a raid led by Mik, where he learns Greybeard’s plans. Unfortunately, Greybeard’s spy, Zignoid, learns Mik’s plans. In the meantime, the Sage flies to visit the Ancient One on his island where the old bird is dying. Learning from his spy that the Sage is gone, Greybeard tells Juul to lunch a surprise attack on the south, leading to the Great War of the Wide Bridge. With the Sage missing, Mik is persuaded by Coal and Bek to take command of the southern army. In the war, Mik destroys Greybeard’s minion army with extra help from ospreys and egrets.

The Sage returns and discovers the spy is Zignoid, who admits that the Black Menace controls Greybeard. Zignoid helps Mik, Bek, and the south bird army to demolish the Black Menace, push him through channels to the salt sea, and certain death. Greybeard is captured by Mik, Bek, and the Sage. He then is led into exile on the Ancient One’s deserted island in the Great Salt Sea. Mik and Bek raise another family to maturity and the cycle of life begins again.

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