Shadow of the Wolf
Shadow of the Wolf is a mystical tale of werewolves and Indians, legends and lore, with a love story woven in as well. I wouldn’t classify this as a Romance because the focus is not on the relationship between the hero and heroine, so, if you’re looking for a story with a strong romantic center, this probably isn’t it. However, if you happen to be a werewolf fan, or appreciate the elemental beauty and spiritual truths that are the foundation of Indian cultures, you’ll find this an agreeable read.
Shadow of the Wolf is the sequel to Shadow on the Moon, and I really wish I had read Moon first. There were enough references to characters and events from the first book, I wondered just what in heck went on there and how things came to be as they are in this story. Also, I have a feeling Moon was the better read because it (hopefully) provided more character development and specifics than are included in Wolf.
Lily Angelica DeLa Vega is a beautiful werewolf queen. Or was. As the villainess of Shadow on the Moon, she was divested of her powers in the culmination of that story and now she’s just an ordinary woman trying to overcome a violent past. Lily enjoyed her werewolf life and regretted its loss. But recently she has been experiencing a nagging undercurrent of guilt and remorse for having ravaged the lives of so many. She lives in a netherworld of bad dreams and unhappiness, loving no one, loved by none.
Tony White Hawk is a computer engineer, and a warrior/shaman for the tribe of Dawn People who live in Ebony Canyon, Arizona – a site so well hidden, these people have remained undetected by outsiders for a thousand years. That is, until they became the target of Sebastian, a powerful werewolf lord, and his pack of omegas. Tony’s wife, Tajaya, was killed – and presumably eaten – by Lily(!), leaving Tony a widower with a small daughter to raise. Now, Tony has been asked to go to New York and bring Lily back to stand in judgement before The Tribunal for her crimes.
It’s been five years, but Tony still hates Lily with a vengeance (this, I can buy). Under protest, Tony accepts the task, captures, and returns Lily for trial. The evil Sebastian wants Lily back with him, but, Lily doesn’t want to be a werewolf again. She has fallen in love with Tony, adores his daughter, Shala, and wants to stay with them, face The Tribunal, survive it, obtain forgiveness from Tony and her former victims, then go with the tribe to Quakahla – The Promised Land, and live the "ordinary life of an ordinary woman."
Although the reasons for Lily’s prior behavior as a werewolf are well explained, I still had a problem with her redemption. I’m just not gracious enough to forgive somebody who murdered and ate my spouse (or caused it to happen), regardless of how much remorse they may feel over it. While all the dictates of spirituality say to forgive the sins of others, I could do that, but I probably wouldn’t want to set up housekeeping with them. However, if you accept the reality of werewolves, then you can pretty much accept the other premises as well.
There’s not much detail to the relationship between Tony and Lily – mutual hatred, then a little heat, then love. The story is told in a highly narrative form where the conversations move the story along, leaving the reader to fill in many of the blanks. It works okay, but I never got a clear picture of what any of the characters look like; they are described seldom and only in general terms. Except for a couple of sentences that hit the PG-13 mark, this is a story your kids could read – and would probably enjoy – as an Indian-lore tale.
I stumbled over some inconsistencies (like a full moon shining through a rainstorm so dense the characters can hardly see each other), and some stretches (a boy has become a Crips gang member after the killing of his mother by a werewolf), and loose ends about Lily’s past. These issues, plus an anti-climatic ending that was a real let-down for me, makes Shadow of the Wolf, ultimately, just a so-so read.