Book Review #13: Wolfsangel by M. D. Lachlan

Title: Wolfsangel
Author: M.D. Lachlan
Publisher: PYR
Release Date: March 2011
Available Formats: Paperback and ebook

I saw the cover of Wolfsangel in September of 2011. I heard Lou Anders synopsis at the same time. I have wanted to read it ever since. I have made myself read things in order that I have received/purchased them because, well, because I’m an idiot, but I kept holding onto the day when I could jump into this story of Viking mythology. If you haven’t noticed, I have an affinity towards Norse mythology and my one fear is Wolfsangel wouldn’t live up to my expectations.

So on to the review.

Synopsis:  The Viking king Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately, but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy—a prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory.

But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. After ensuring that his faithful warriors, witnesses to what has happened, die during the raid, Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands.

So begins a stunning multivolume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal Viking king down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin, and Loki, the eternal trickster, spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history and our lives.

This is the myth of the werewolf as it has never been told before and marks the beginning of an extraordinary new fantasy series. (Stolen from PYR’s website)

Setting: The story takes place in Scandinavia (which should come as no surprise). The first half of the story is centered around a small Viking village. The second half takes us half way around Scandinavia and then back. Throughout the story the setting really just fits as a backdrop to the action. I can’ t say that I felt any particular part came through more strongly than another. However, the tapestry Mr. Lachlan wove out of this frigid land was bleak, pale and desolate, which fit the story perfectly.

Plot: The boys mentioned in the synopsis grow up as boys tend to do. As the synopsis also states, he has become a plaything of powers that might not take his personal interests into account. For the sake of love, both boys are willing to sacrifice all they hold dear. The question is, what do they hold the most dear, and which will give the most?

Characters: Most of the characters in Wolfsangel are rather two-dimensional in many aspects. Mr. Lachlan might tell you how each is feeling at any given point in the story, but for the most part (with the exception of the last quarter of the book) none of the characters emoted at a level that really came through to the reader (at least not to me) beyond a superficial level. This isn’t meant as a negative, just an explanation of Mr. Lachlan’s writing style for this particular  book.

Odin’s recommendation: I simply cannot recommend Wolfsangel highly enough. This story reads like a myth imbued with a new life. Wolfsangel reads like a story told around a campfire whilst you sit at your grandfather’s knee. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, but the story moves along at a good clip and readers will definitely be wanting to turn pages long after they should have turned out the lights. I had heard from several sources that Wolfsangel was brutal in its depiction of violence. Maybe I have read too many of the Norse myths, or perhaps my sources simply are a bit more squeamish than myself, but I did not find the violence excessive. The story was told as it needed to be told. At 383 trade paperback pages, Wolfsangel is far from a small book. However, I devoured Wolfsangel more quickly than I would have preferred with the only saving grace being that I all ready have the sequel waiting on my nightstand. Alas, I have at least 4 books on top of it.

With my expectations set high, Wolfsangel still did not disappoint. I intend to read this story over again and highly recommend it to anyone that has a love of Vikings or Viking lore. I rank this book the best of 2012 to date, and am confident it will remain in the top 5.

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