Tuesday, July 20, 2010

13th Century Werewolves

Vampires are still at the forefront of the paranormal realm, but werewolves have been trying to beat them for a few years now. Every once in a while a couple of werewolf books will hit shelves, but it seems that for every 2, there are 20 more vampire books. They're dominating. But I can't hate on them too much since they have, in a sense, paved the way for all of the other paranormal entities. In truth, they've been around for ages, but it's their current popularity that's resulted in a slew of new genre releases.

And everytime something totally different pops into my radar, I can't help but love it. (I must admit, even with the vamps, there are so many possibilities that if an author truly does come up with a different twist, I'm all about it.)

Anywho, that brings me to my latest read (finished it last night), Wolfbreed by S.A. Swann.

In Wolfbreed, Swann uses 13th century Prussia as his backdrop for a really great werewolf tale. Historically, Teutonic knights from the Crusades had been invited into the country to help Christianize the Prussian pagans (I looked this up, I am not an expert on 13th century European history). In the book, a knight of the Order of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem discovers his camp has been attacked, all of the others brutally murdered. He defeats the werewolf responsible, only to discover a litter of her cubs. Intent on raising them as weapons for the Church, the young werewolves are tortured and brainwashed as training for the next eighteen years. It is 1239 when Lilly finally escapes her master. But these knights are not going to give up their captor so easily. They will hunt her to the ends of the earth if needed. She is saved by a family who take her in and care for her when she is wounded. But soon enough, the Order tracks Lilly to her hiding place. Whether her newfound friends will stick by her once they learn the truth about her is the question.

I don't think I can really do this book justice. First, I don't want to give too much away: Lilly's not your typical werewolf (at least not the ones that are usually portrayed these days), and her back story is really great. Plus, it's one that runs the length of the book and is integral to the revelations that come at the end. Wouldn't want to ruin that for you, now would I?

This was, at least in my area, a very quiet release. I'd heard nothing about this book until just recently and that's thanks to the upcoming release (7/27) of the sequel, Wolf's Cross. Frankly, Swann's historical/paranormal read deserves much more attention, in my humble opinion. I'd highly recommend checking it out if you're looking for something different, if you enjoy the fantastical with a hint of true history, or if you're simply looking for a great story. Wolfbreed is all of these things and I can't wait to find out where it goes next with Wolf's Cross (which jumps to 1343).


Jenn's Bookshelves said...

This book looks quite interesting. While I am quite a fan of vampire books, I agree-they seem to be dominating this genre. I'll defnitely check out this author and her books. Thanks, once again, for the recommendation!

Vickie said...

This has been on the WWBL for some time, can't remember where I heard about it though. I need to highlight it to get soonest. Thanks for the reminder. It's time for some werewolves...