Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth features a diverse cast of memorable characters: Winslow Remington Houndstooth, leader of the gang tasked with clearing the Mississippi of feral hippos; Regina “Archie” Archaumbault, charming con artist; Hero Shackleby, the quietly deadly poisons expert brought out of retirement for one last job; and Adelia Reyes, assassin extraordinaire. (And then there’s Cal. That’s really all we need to say about Cal.)
But none of these mercenaries would be quite as bad-ass without their trusty hippo steeds.
So we want to introduce you to the hippos at the heart of Sarah’s alternate history adventure, and asked Sarah herself to provide the stats on each–from size to breed to quirky traits and middle names–to accompany these original illustrations by Gregory Manchess!
Developed by the breeding program at Houndstooth Ranch, this breed all but died out in a tragic fire. Ruby is the last specimen of the breed and an exemplar of the breed’s profile. Bred for stealth and combat, the Cambridge Black hippo moves through the water silently and strikes at enemies with minimal bluster. While many hippos in their natural habitats approach combat with a great deal of fanfare, the Cambridge Black opts for sudden, efficient movements and relies more on the element of surprise than brute strength.
An albino variation of a Houston Grey, Rosa is of a rare breed developed for loyalty and courage. Intended to be a household breed, the Houston Grey fell quickly out of popularity when it was discovered that it is impossible to fully house-train a hippopotamus.
Abigail is a Standard Grey. The original American Hippopotamus. Standard Greys aren’t usually much for combat, and tend to be docile, if stubborn. More intelligent than their counterparts, fiercely loyal, and easy to underestimate.
An “heirloom” breed developed more for show than for functional purposes, the Tuscan Brown is a deep, lustrous mahogany when well-cared-for. Unfortunately, in the hands of an inexperienced Hopper, a Tuscan Brown can fade to a dull mud-puddle brown. This breed scars easily when exposed to lake combat or even rough waters. Best suited to private ponds with well-tended, delicate grasses planted in shaded areas. Excellent at learning show tricks such as ‘roll-over’, ‘smile,’ and ‘dance’.
Same as Abigail, Zahra is a Standard Grey. The original American Hippopotamus. Standard Greys aren’t usually much for combat, and tend to be docile, if stubborn. More intelligent than their counterparts, fiercely loyal, and easy to underestimate.
The Arnesian Brown is a workhorse breed. Patient but ruthlessly intelligent, these hippos are excellent partners to Hoppers but should never be left to their own devices for too long, lest they grow bored and find ways to keep themselves occupied.