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Welcome to the benevolent Morphenkinder
on 4 January 2014
The previous and first volume of this Wolf Gift Chronicle series was surprising in the way Anne Rice was humanizing these werewolves under the name of Man Wolf, that monster that can change from man to wolf at will or nearly and that can only destroy bad and evil men, can hunt animals and live a normal life the rest of the time.
In this second volume she explores the Man Wolf community and the human articulation her main hero Reuben has to entertain with the world. She also invests all that in a deeper pagan but Christianized context and heritage. Things are thus becoming tricky.
The main hero has a brother who is a priest and the former confesses his secret to the latter, knowing that this brother Jim has to keep it sealed since it was entrusted to him under confession. That is going to make things very difficult when this priest working in the Tenderloin, San Francisco, encounters some difficulties with the local crime lords. At the same time that makes the elder brother Jim more or less the prisoner if not the hostage of the younger brother because of this secret.
That will lead Jim to telling his younger brother his own secret, the fact that he was a failure at the university and that he got into an affair with the wife of a physically disabled professor, with the professor manipulating complicity, got her pregnant in his quasi constant state of drunkenness, got physical and violent one night and thought he had murdered the child and caused a miscarriage. He became a priest out of that guilt and repentance.
The younger brother, now he is a man wolf, cannot really marry his Celeste girlfriend who has always hated him anyway, but she is pregnant and she does not want the child and yet she is going to keep him and then give him - it is a boy - to his grand parents, Reuben's parents. So she has to make it legal, hence to marry Reuben, then a quick divorce, and then marry Reuben's best friend who accepts that tricky situation.
Add to that his father's decision to come and live with his son and the father accidentally will become a Man Wolf in his turn. Tricky, tricky, tricky.
Anne Rice is a genius at exploring human feelings and emotions when they are very tricky and complicated. The book is thus extremely interesting since it reveals twists in the "plot" `(if it is a plot and not a haphazard sequence of events like in real life), twisted intentions, twisted emotions, twisted hatred and twisted love all around and everywhere.
Then she explores the community of these Morphenkinder Reuben is living with at his new palatial place in the forest at Nideck Point. The old community is summoned back to the house and the gentlemen are assembled again. They bring their servants, some ageless eternal beings who have always been the servants of Morphenkinder, the Geliebten Lakaien. These servants are led by a certain Lisa, whose sex is slightly not clear for a while. At the same time this volume reveals the existence of the Forest Gentry, another eternal species of beings who are not material beings, but are ghosts who have learned how to materialize their entities in some human form. And among them Marchent, the woman who was assassinated in the first volume by her brothers in the house and who had just willed the whole estate to Reuben and she has to be recuperated by the Forest Gentry in order for her to come to some closure and move on beyond though no one knows where.
The relations within this species of Morphenkinder become even trickier due to the context, Christmas, that reactivates the old pagan tradition of Modranicht, the Night of Mother Earth, but at the same time Christianized into Christmas and then Ordinary Time, or the Yule season versus/with the Nativity. The old landlord of the place, Felix, is there and he realizes his big project with the full support of the present landlord Reuben. He uses Christmas to revive the small village off the estate and turn it into an enormous festival and a refuge for all kinds of crafts people. The festival is an enormous success. Then they have a banquet on the estate and in the house that is Roman and Imperial in size and ambition. Then they have their own celebration in the forest for Yuletide and that turns very sour and difficult because of the desire from some female Morphenkinder from Europe to punish Felix for his desire to entertain relations with humans and these female Morphenkinder want to have a human sacrifice in that feast.
That will lead to a drama and the last part of the book will be a sequence of such dramas, the attack of some drug lord on the priest Jim, Jim's soliciting help from his Morphenkinder of a brother, the revelation about what really happened to Jim and the professor's wife, the tremendous guilt Jim is experiencing for his having caused the killing of all drug traffickers, etc.
That leads to a situation that is of course not settled and solved. Another volume will have to be written to spin, weave and knit the yarns of this one to some further developments. And we expect it to come soon, though Anne Rice has announced she is working on a new erotic book under A.N. Roquelaure's pseudonym. Anne Rice has always had the doppelganger of an erotic writer inside her mind and a few erotic pages in her common novels are far from being enough for her imagination, needs, desires and impulses. That's probably why she discontinued her angel series because as for erotic adventures angels are not very creative.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU