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The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolves, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Regeane is a fatherless royal relation who happens to be a werewolf. Her guardian, Gundabald, and his venal son Hugo plan to recoup their fortunes by marrying Regeane to a wealthy bridegroom, even though she might inadvertently make him into a bedtime snack. Gundabald forces her into apparent compliance by threatening to reveal her secret to the Church, which would burn her at the stake. As the bridegroom, Maeniel, journeys to Rome to claim her, Regeane discovers allies in her quest to defeat Gundabald's machinations, including some very strong, funny, and levelheaded women. Unfortunately for Regeane, she also has more powerful enemies than Gundabald.

Alice Borchardt brings 8th-century Rome vividly to life. Her language is earthy and sensuously descriptive: "The wolf visited Regeane's eyes and ears. The girl staggered slightly with the shock. The light in the square became intense. Smells an overwhelming experience: wet stone, damp air, musty clothing, perspirations shading from ancient sticky filth to fresh acrid adrenal alarm."

Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, but she writes a very different sort of tale. Ghosts, the dead, and supernatural forces are here, but so is laugh-out-loud humor and a happy ending. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Borchardt spices her usual recipe for breathy historical romance (Devoted, etc.) with a generous pinch of the supernatural. Regeane is a secretive shapeshifter living in Rome at the end of the Empire's decline. Distantly related to Charlemagne, she becomes a pawn between the French and Italy's scrappy Lombards when she is betrothed to Maeniel, guardian of a passage through the Alps who is sympathetic to the French king. Intrigues and counterplots abound as Maeniel speeds his way to retrieve his reluctant bride and Regeane lends her supernatural powers to curing the leprous Antonius, whom the Lombards hope to use to discredit his father, Pope Hadrian, and turn the Roman citizens against Charlemagne's advancing Catholic army. In Regeane, whose woman and wolf selves often spar contentiously with one another, Borchardt finds the perfect metaphor for the once opulent Roman civilization, now hostage to its bestial appetites. She elaborates the decadent excesses of the time with gleefully vivid descriptions of gluttonous banquets, grotesque leper colonies and violent lusts sated both on the battlefield and in the bridal bed. Readers who like their fantasy dusted with gritty realism and who can forgive anachronistic modern dialogue in a period melodrama will find themselves indulged with more than a few twists to this werewolf tale. (July) FYI: The galley to Silver Wolf carries a note to "Dear Reader" from Borchardt's sister, Anne Rice, stating that "it is with immense joy that I introduce to you a daring and vibrant new voice on the female literary frontier"?although the novel is Borchardt's third.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345423615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345423610
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on October 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book before I realized that Alice was Anne Rice's sister. Therefore, I developed a much less biased opinion than I might have. I think The Silver Wolf's style shares a lot in common with Rice's vampire novels, but this only became obvious to me after I made the connection. However, there's enough difference between these two authors that I think the constant comparisons going on are really unfair to them both. The Silver Wolf explores the werewolf legend from a fresh angle. There is no hint of any compulsive murdering on the part of the werewolves, or bloodlust for human flesh. Indeed, they are portrayed as more human and humane than anyone else in the plot. The imagery is rich and takes on the quality of a dream from time to time. The romantic subplot between Regeanne and Maniel (werewolf main characters)is convincing but I felt that it came too late and was hastily explored.
Overall, this was one of my favorite werewolf novels. The criticisms I've heard about it, such as the plot dragging in the first half and being a bit fragmented, are true enough in my opinion, which is why I rated only four stars.
PS-the official book review states that Lucilla was Maniel's mother--I don't know where that came from, unless that particular reviewer was just confused by the fragmented storyline and numerous flashback scenes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Barks Book Nonsense on May 8, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Regeane is a beautiful young woman with werewolf blood. Because of this, her nasty uncle has kept her captive and beaten and starved her. When she discovers that he plans to sell her to a wealthy barbarian she risks her life and escapes. The remainder of the book concentrates on Regeane's self-discovery and the other, often odd, sometimes depraved people she encounters. She's known she can shapeshift but she also learns that she has visions and can speak to the dead. Eventually she becomes embroiled in a dangerous political situation and meets her soul mate and all ends pretty happily ever after.
This book, set in Rome during the Dark Ages, is rough, meaty and often very dark. It's not a book for everyone because the author gets really graphic and vividly describes numerous vile acts including torture and assorted bodily functions. The book also goes off into tangents when the numerous secondary characters take center stage but their stories were interesting even though they rarely advanced the plot. My mind only started to wander during the times when the book got into heavy political details - which aren't my thing.
If you can get past all that, and don't mind a highly descriptive book you'll find a very interesting story that is often (at the most unexpected times) very hilarious in a morbid kind of way. I found this story, for the most part, very difficult to put down and am looking forward to the sequel which I hope ties up some loose ends.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Wolfs normally aren't my thing, and I surprised myself by picking up this book, mostly because she's Anne's sister and I wanted to know if she was as good or bad. Not surprisingly I was cringing through Regeane's first change, thinking "Oh my, how am I ever going to make it through this thing?"
Like her sister, Borchardt has a love for bringing to life the surroundings in her novel, getting sometimes carried away and filling the page with very descriptive detail. So much that at points I found myself banging my head against the wall, screaming, "I don't care about how the darn wine sauce tastes or how this stupid ruin is lying in ruins, I want some story development between Regeane and Maeniel!
Right from the beginning the story was set-up that Regeane was to be married to Maeniel. So right from the start you are already waiting for this to happen and the two of them to finally meet. But instead you are left with 300+ pages to read through instead, all building up to the marriage. I can't say most of it wasn't enjoyable, but you are so set-up for them finally getting together that the rest becomes annoying.
In my opinion Borchardt should have based her story around Regeane living in the pass with Maeniel, partly not knowing of the families secret. In other words, taken 200 pages out of the beginning and added 200 to the end. I was left unsatisfied with all this build-up of 400+ pages and only 5 to resolve it. I also got the feeling that Borchardt was avoiding story development between the two, as if she didn't know what to do with them once she got them together.
But in the end though the good outweighs the bad, and Borchardt certainly has talent. Some scenes were simply perfect, and some left me rolling on the floor laughing, such as the wedding feast. Bravo. Now if she could roll that talent into something more satisfying, Rice would have something to look out for.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book seems like it would be a great read. It's got all the elements for great fiction, a shapchanging heroine, an intriguing historical context, and a handsome enthralling hero. It all sounds great in theory, but the reality is considerably disappointing.
The beginning of the book consists of detailed and unnecessarily graphic descriptions of the depraved actions of Regeane's Uncle and cousin. Perpetual, slovenly, drunkenness, promiscuous, vermin ridden sex, and gluttonous eating. It wouldn�t be such a big deal if there was anything more to this book, but there isn�t. After Regeane escapes the foul clutches of her relatives she spends her time in the amorous grip of Lucilla, an aging Roman courtesan. Lucilla introduces Regeane to the delights of sexual relations as she pleasures her in her rich Roman estate. Though Regeane does not love, or even feel attracted to Lucilla, they continue to sleep in the same bed until Maeniel comes to claim her.
I found the plot, what there was of it, to be confusing and unsatisfying, merely a subtext for as much lysencious and immoral activities as could be described. The only thing that could keep me reading was the anticipation of Maeniel and Regeane�s union and even this misguided hope was dashed, as the two never consummate their marriage.
Let me conclude by saying that this was the first book I have EVER returned to the store, if all my criticisms have not made the slightest impact on your decision to buy this book, well then, I wish you the joy of it. Good day
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