The artist is here!
I've been swamped and don't have a huge amount to contribute, other than hopes that the art will begin to move forward soon in pleasing ways.
I can confirm that the "vermin are bad" thing doesn't sit well with us, although we loved the books. There are two towns, one a happy town full of "goodbeasts" a la Brian Jacques and one a thriving trading center which values ability over apearences (so plenty of good vermin and bad mice there).
We don't have any Coldblood hero characters planned, but they aren't distinctly evil either. As mentioned, the hero cast has a Fox and a Rat(?) included, as well as the expected mouse badger mole hare squirrel and shrew.
As far as "can the stories coincide," you won't be able to play more than one of the 8 main storylines in a single game. however, you can recruit any of the other 7 during that game, or all 7 if you choose, and play their "mastery quest", which is the 2nd main quest that character has (each character has 4 quests - start, recruitment, mastery, and final).
What's expected is that most players will go through with their first choice and get all the characters, do all the quests, etc...then play the game through in a "short version" (just the unique quests) for the other characters they like.
Hopefully we'll make a much prettier post soon enough