I adored the first book Companion to Wolves so much so that I've read it twice. I never thought a second book could match the standard of beautiful writing, excellent and gripping story and interesting characters, but it does. Isolfr still has a central role and it was fascinating to see the development of the relationship between Vethulf and Skaldwulf. Other characters such as Kari and Brokkolfr, Otter and Fargrimr are also growing, leaving one to speculate if someone will finally steal Isolfr's heart in the next book. The sex in both books was necessary in order to understand the relationship between men and their wolf brothers and sisters and was really nothing to do with 'gay and straight' as someone else's review claimed. Isolfr is in modern language straight as they come, but has incredible experiences during the mating rut with his Wolf Jarls. The partnership between wolves and men is insightful and moving and the probable future of them as 'lawgivers' and 'peacekeepers' looks to the development of an amazing third book. From its title I suspect the book may feature Isolfr's daughter more so maybe we shall see a female warrior or two.
After the genius of the first book, `A Companion To Wolves', I was bitterly disappointed by the second. I couldn't see the point of the follow-up; it doesn't add anything, it only takes away. I found the first book so intriguing, so intense with atmosphere that it gave you a palpable sense of being there, of being sensitive to the sights and smells and tensions. This book loses all of that.
The wonderful Isolfr is still in the story, but a stage removed; the story is no longer told through him. Although some of the most interesting characters are here, Skjaldwulf, Vethulf and Grimolfr, neither one is made central to the continuing plot so you can't tell where your allegiances should lie. There's little suspense created to lead the plot along, so you find yourself not really caring what happens.
We meet some new creatures and new characters, and a new race of people - a kind of Roman civilisation - which started to be interesting, hopefully in the third book we'll come back to that.
There's little human interest in this book, due to the fact that it's not told through the thoughts and emotions of one person.
I'm hoping that the story IS gearing up for something worth waiting for, hopefully in the last / third book. If not it would have been better to have ended with book one, which was perfect in itself.