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Wolfsangel Paperback – 22 Mar 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 355 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (22 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616143576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143572
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.4 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,211,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Sorcery and savagery fuel this rousing historical fantasy...Vivid in its rendering of the primitive historical past, this entertaining adventure will have readers eagerly anticipating the next book in the series."
-Publishers Weekly

Book Description

A superbly written fantasy epic that spans hundreds of years of our history to bring Norse legends and the myth of the werewolf to blood-curdling life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
Allow me to digress here for a bit before I start my full review. Last year I attended Dragonmeet only for one thing: to sit in on a talk by a handful of authors, amongst them David Devereux, Stephen Deas, Johnny Nexus and MD Lachlan (aka Mark Barrowcliffe). The talk had to do with gaming and writing and it was probably one of the funniest and interesting talks I've been to. What came out is that most of the authors on the panel were all gamers or at least ex-gamers but that a lot of them had interest in the occult. MDL mentioned this a few times and this made me itch to read Wolfsangel more. I suspected dark dealings, spells, evil, witches...interesting things.

And I wasn't disappointed. MDL takes a story and imbues it with a wild dark magic that lifts an almost standard quest adventure (historical) fantasy into something vivid, gritty and wonderfully epic.

The king's action at the beginning of the novel is so imaginatively over the top, I initially thought it was a dream sequence. Little did I know this was in fact the tone of the entire novel. King Athun leads a raid on a small village with the express desire to steal away a baby boy, to take him back to his own kingdom and raise him as his own. Only thing is, when he finds the boy, he discovers not one but two boys. Twins. He takes the decision to raise one and send one to be raised by the witches who sent him on this quest in the first instance. Athun's word is law - his thanes, friends and fellow warriors - obey his instructions and stay to fight the people from the village and surrounds, ensuring their king's escape. This opening salvo is already seeped deeply with the magic of the otherworld. It shows us the iron-hold of the witches on a king and a king's hold on his people.
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Format: Hardcover
There is a single reason why I don't consider myself a book blogger, and that's simply because sometimes real life gets in the way. I'm a slow reader as it is, liking to take my time to absorb the prose, but it would feel slightly unprofessional to take as long as I do over a book. I'm also one of those people who if I don't pick up a book at least once every couple of days, I lose the thread and have to give up.

So I feel slightly guilty towards Wolfsangel. I've been reading it for about six weeks whilst real life makes heavy demands of my time. However, probably the greatest compliment I can pay to it is that the book always kept me coming back for more.

It's competently written as well. I've always believed that prose should serve the story not self-serve the writer's ego, and I recognised a lot of this in the style of Wolfsangel, to the extent that I've spent many a night recently wondering if writers from a journalistic background have a more functional style of writing.

Now that doesn't mean the writing is dull, just that the quality of the prose is consistent, that there were no standout moments, no one-liners I thought "Oooo, I must remember to quote that when I come to write up my thoughts". In fact the only real flourish comes in Chapter 6,

"What is prophecy? It is a wide thing of many forms. We don't call a person who anticipates a cat will knock over a cup and moves to catch it a prophet. We don't maintain that the ability to look at the clouds and say it will rain makes you a seer."

The lack of flourish doesn't cause an issue. Lachlan sets out to tell a big story and flourish would just get in the way.
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Format: Paperback
The two boys that King Authun kidnaps are the main protagonists of the novel. They grow up apart, neither knowing of the others existence. Vali is raised as the King Authun's son, and has everything that a boy could wish for. This life makes him somewhat spoiled, and not immediately the easiest character to empathise with, well not initially anyway. His story really picks up when he is forced to fend for himself after his adoptive father effectively disowns him. Meanwhile, the other brother, Feileg is left to survive in the wilds amongst the mountain men and the wolves. This brutal lifestyle leaves its mark and by the time he is in his teens he is more animal than man. He has learned to kill with his bare hands and eat his meals raw. It's a nice juxtaposition to witness the differing lives of these two siblings.

On a larger scale there are various political schemes and plots afoot between several warring kingdoms. This guarantees that there is plenty of blood-thirsty action. I particularly liked the berserker mercenaries when they were introduced. There are a number of excellent battle scenes that vividly depicts their unrestrained violent behaviour. This is where the plot of Wolfsangel really excels. Lachlan has an eye for detail that incorporates both the small details of individual character plots with the epic visuals of frenzied fast paced battles.

The werewolves in Wolfsangel are quite different from others that I have come across elsewhere during this month. There is more of a blending of man and animal. Feileg has a bestial quality due to his upbringing, as the story progresses he slowly re-learns what it means to be human. Vali meanwhile, suffers the opposite fate. He becomes more and more of a beast.
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