The Wolf King
I have not read the first two books in this series, The Silver Wolf and Night of the Wolf, and although I feel that I missed out on some of the finer plot points and character backgrounds, this was still an enjoyable read. Those who have been following the series will no doubt understand many subtle nuances that I missed. I’m certainly intrigued enough at this point to search out the first two books in the series and read them, which is not something I’m always inclined to do mid-stream.
The story starts out with Charlemagne about to cross the Alps to invade Italy. Maeniel and Regeane, the troubled lycanthrope protagonists of the previous books, support Charlemagne, rather than the Lombard King Desiderius, apparently an old enemy of theirs. Someone, however, has given Charlemagne reason to doubt Maeniel’s loyalty and when they enter the king’s camp, Maeniel is taken hostage. Regeane has picked up a new ally, simply known as the Saxon, when he saved her life. She returns the favor in a fight they face in a monastery that has nothing dedicated to God, let me tell you. The first chapter is gruesome, so be forewarned.
Maeniel and Regeane are then drawn into a deep political game while serving Charlemagne, and Maeniel is again captured, thanks to another old enemy, Hugo. Hugo is not exactly himself anymore, however, and has picked up a second personality in the form of a bear spirit. Although this spirit can best be described as amoral, and at worst, possibly evil, I found the scenes involving him most entertaining. He holds an old grudge against Maeniel and Regeane and is the cause of many of their problems in this book. It was interesting to see how the resolution between these supernatural forces, the werewolves and the bear spirit, worked out.
Regeane is given more of a spotlight than is the relationship between her and Maeniel. She comes into powers of her own and is not merely an extension of her husband, which is the attitude that apparently all of the werewolves had toward Regeane, even Maeniel. Other characters that should be familiar to readers of the series, such as Lucilla, also have a large part of the intricate plot.
It was in the plot details and history of the characters that I felt the lack of connection. Regeane and Maeniel are both likable and I enjoyed them, but the other characters in the werewolf pack were a mystery to me. I also obviously missed out on the whole historical set up involving the Lombards, even though it was briefly discussed, I knew I was missing many details previously explained. The storyline with the Saxon also seemed to fizzle out, which was unfortunate, since he seemed to have great potential.
The story ends rather abruptly, so perhaps another sequel is in the works. Although it isn’t strictly necessary to read the other books first, I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series. For those that have been waiting for this installment, the story was full of action, political intrigue, supernatural elements and werewolves. That’s enough to keep me entertained for a few hours!
|Review Date:||June 9, 2001|