When grad student Benton Collins tries to recapture an escaped lab rat, he's led through a maze into a world not his own. Just how different the land of Barakhai is Ben doesn't discover until he's been arrested for a horrific crime. For Barakhai is peopled by inadvertent shapeshifters. and, driven by hunger and unaware of the fact that he's now in a place where animals are literally people, too, Ben catches and eats a rabbit. Arrested and convicted for the crimes of murder and cannibalism. Ben is condemned to die.
Rescued by the white rat, who in human form is a man named Zylas, Ben learns Zylas is part of a group of rebels dissatisfied with life in Barakhai. Ruled by the dictatorial royals who remain in human form at all times, many of the shapeshifters have been reduced to second-class citizens, their status determined by what kind of animal form they take on.
As Ben is not a shapeshifter. Zylas and his comrades hope the grad student can become the means to turn their world around. But even if Ben agrees to join their cause. will he only be postponing the moment of his execution--and will he ever be allowed to return to his own world?