I'd read about two-thirds of the way through Chameleon when I decided I didn't like the book. It didn't appear to be the genre I read. Characters drank liquor, which I don't usually see in Christian fiction, and this predator hawk flying about symbolized danger.
Yet, I was hooked. Lady Victoria and her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore, are determined to change the cruel or neglectful treatment of patients at the asylum for the insane.
Then there is the handsome former spy, Lord Witt, looking into a human attack by a hawk where the victim is near death. Witt allows Lady Victoria, whom he calls "little snoop,"to help investigate sometimes because he has an affection for her and she likes to solve mysteries.
I hated the character who trained hawks. I deducted he was the vicious Talon, the object of their search. But no one knows who Talon is.
A mental health institute was on my beat as a newspaper reporter and I was astonished at the diagnoses thought to be linked to insanity in the late 1800s: Paralysis, syphilis, Down's Syndrome, epilepsy, deafness, and a whole lot of physical problems that later experts learned had nothing to do with insanity. This book is set in 1818.
So it wasn't Lady Victoria's visits to the asylum and reading to patients that bothered me most, but the dreaded mammoth hawks who attempts to kill Ravensmoore and Witt.
I don't know if the author intended this book to be an allegory using imagery to reflect a spiritual message such as C.S. Lewis uses in the The Chronicles of Narnia, but a message came through loud and clear to me as the mammoth birds circle their prey.
First, Jesus warned that when the seeds of the gospel are sown in our hearts, some falls on the wayside and birds come in and devour it. In his explanation of the parable, Jesus said the birds symbolize Satan (Matthew 13 KJ).
Then we're told in John 10:10 the "thief," Satan, comes to kill steal and destroy, so I see the hawk, as Satan, pecking spiritual eyes out, ripping away faith's flesh, as well as destroying the eggs, baby chicks and squabs.
Yet, hawks are majestic beautiful birds with characteristics of the eagle. The Word reminds us the devil takes on many forms and could disguise himself as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14).
In Chameleon, the characters fight against the killer falcons, but according to scripture all we have to do against Satan is to resist him--for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Jillian Kent, the author of Chameleon, has written a unique novel that satisfies the reader because there is victory, as well as romance.
The novel didn't follow through quite as far as I expected with the reflective imagery, but it's still a great read if you like suspense and allegories. As I said, I don't know if the author meant for it to be an allegory, but it seems so to me.