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Wolfbreed Paperback – August 25, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Original edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807387
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Religion and political intrigue turn an adolescent werewolf into a killing machine in this compelling novel of 13th-century Northern Europe. Eighteen-year-old Lilly is superhumanly strong, vulnerable only to silver and trained to help Christians subdue unrepentant pagans. When she slaughters a dozen Christian soldiers and flees into the wilderness, Uldolf, the son of Johnsburg's last pagan chieftain, takes her in. As they come to terms with their histories, the knight Erhard von Stendal comes to hunt Lilly down. Lilly's struggle to reconcile her split personalities—cold assassin and lonely girl—becomes a quest for redemption and love as she endures rape, amnesia and the knowledge of her own terrible actions in the church's service. Swann (Prophets) turns opposing viewpoints into sympathetic perspectives, clearly painting the complex political and religious dynamics of the time. (Sept.)
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Review

“Vivid and visceral, dark and delicious, this one kept me turning pages from start to finish.” —George R. R. Martin, author of A Feast for Crows

“Mesmerizing . . . an exciting, nonstop action-adventure . . . I adored this book.”—Mary Balogh, author of First Comes Love

“A thrilling, deeply moving journey that I never wanted to end.”—Robert Masello, author of Blood and Ice

“Swann’s exquisite werewolf historical brings the era vividly to life as the perfect setting for his conflicted, multidimensional characters. This may be the werewolf book of the year, for, filled with action, romance, gore, and political intrigue, it’s a fresh, page-turning take on werewolf tropes that is not to be missed.”—Booklist

“Religion and political intrigue turn an adolescent werewolf into a killing machine in this compelling novel of 13th-century Northern Europe...Lilly’s struggle to reconcile her split personalities–cold assassin and lonely girl–becomes a quest for redemption and love as she endures rape, amnesia and the knowledge of her own terrible actions in the church’s service. Swann turns opposing viewpoints into sympathetic perspectives, clearly painting the complex political and religious dynamics of the time.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

More About the Author

S. A. Swann is the pen name of Steven Swiniarski. He's married and lives in the Greater Cleveland area where he has lived all of his adult life. He has a background in mechanical engineering and --besides writing-- works as a Database Manager for one of the largest private child services agencies in the Cleveland area. He has published 18 novels over the past 15 years, which include science fiction, fantasy, and horror. See the author's website for more information: www.sandrewswann.com and also www.wolfbreednovels.com

Customer Reviews

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"Wolfbreed was a thoroughly engaging and engrossing read.
Anna
Recommended to readers with a fondness for gritty adventure, unlikely romance, or historical fiction.
S. Ramey
Basically: it's a great read from start to finish, and I recommend it wholeheartedly!
pkbrowning

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lilly is one of a litter of werewolf children being raised by the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 13th century Prusa (later Prussia). The wolfbreed, as they are called, are subjected to horrifying abuses and trained to become brutal weapons of war. Their purpose: to help the Order massacre Prussia's remaining pagan strongholds.

A theological debate rages between the Order and the Church regarding the nature of the wolfbreed. Are they simply animals, soulless but trainable and possibly useful? Or, are they minions of Satan? The one possibility no one considers: human.

When Lilly escapes from her master in the town of Johnsburg, she is taken in by a farm family and treated as an ordinary young woman. Their kindness breaches Lilly's defenses, and she begins to look at herself through new eyes and to question her upbringing. Her peaceful time with them, however, is not to last. The Church and the Order are hunting her. The horrors within Lilly's mind may be even harder to escape. Can she forgive herself for the violence in her past, and would those who love her be able to forgive her if they knew everything she'd done?

This is a gritty, violent novel, yet there are themes of love and redemption that are often absent from the grittier sort of fantasy. S.A. Swann shows us the worst that humanity can do, but also the best. The surrounding horrors make the moments of beauty all the more effective.

The story is told through several alternating third-person points of view. The different point-of-view sections often overlap in time, allowing the reader to see the same event from different perspectives. This device works well in Wolfbreed, and all of the point-of-view characters have distinct voices.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. rudd on September 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. You know when a book makes you tear up it is great. I usually read books based on what I read in reviews by romantic times. Luckily I hadn't read the reviews in the scifi section or this one would have been looked over (i only read 4 and above reviews generally). I saw this book in the sci-fi section yesterday, and read it last night. There is no way this is a 3 star book. It is very well written, has a different type of plot and characters from most werewolf books and very real moral and ethical conundrums despite the fantastic setting. This is well worth the cover price and I highly recommend it. 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katie Babs VINE VOICE on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
A girl barely out of her teens is found bloody and naked by Uldolf, a one-armed young man who has been hunting in the forest. He lives with his adopted parents and a sister who took him in when he was just a child after the massacre that left his biological family dead. Uldolf barely survived and refuses to remember what happened. The strange girl doesn't seem to speak and is frightened. Uldolf won't allow her to die and takes her home where her mother will care for her.

The abused girl is Lily, a werewolf who has been held captive for years under the Knights of the Teutonic Order. Her master, Johannsburg, Erhard von Stendal, a knight of this order has made her into a killing machine where he has brainwashed her to thinking she kills for the good of god. He has killed her family and used torture to keep her in line. Lily has killed many and while her master is away, she is able to escape. She is very sacred but goes with Uldolf because he seems so kind. What Uldolf doesn't know is that Lily and he have met before when they were young children and that she is the reason he became an orphan.

As Lily recovers, Uldolf and his parents try to figure out what the best course of action with Lily. She is a very strange girl who doesn't seem comfortable with people, but is willing to help with household chores and keep an eye on Hilde, Uldolf's younger sister. Also Lily has become attached to Uldolf and wants to show him how much she has come to love him. Erhard is searching for Lily and will do whatever means necessary to find her.

Because Lily is being hunted, anyone she comes in contact with is in danger. Lily has no where to go and wants to stay with Uldolf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Leighton on November 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This interesting tale of a werewolf girl in medieval Prussia is paced in such a way that putting the book down after the first fifty pages or so becomes very difficult. The book's plot is concise yet its philosophical undertones are rich. What does it mean to be 'human'? This is a central question in the book because we see so-called humans, even 'godly' humans, who exhibit little but savagery and lack all semblance of empathy. On the other hand there are the werewolves, creatures who are branded as monsters simply for being different. The Christian knights aren't interested in understanding them, but merely using them for their own violent and ultimately secular ends (cloaked in disingenuous Christian rhetoric).

The book can just as easily be viewed as a cautionary tale on the misuse of religion. As a Christian I found the acts of many of the so-called Christian knights in this book to be deplorable, but it did not in any way detract from the book. If you've read any scholarship on the medieval period, particularly Manchester's A World Lit Only by Fire, then you'll be aware of the unfortunate misuse of religion, and particularly Christianity, as a dangerous force of ignorance and superstition during the medieval period.

Lilly and Udolf are excellently drawn characters who come across as strong yet vulnerable and at once likable. The idea of knowing truly what it means to forgive tests both characters and plays a central role in the storyline. One character has to learn what it is to forgive oneself while another character has to learn to overcome visceral fear and hatred too. The drama is all the more poignant because these characters' lives are thrown into tragic situations not of their own making, and even as we wonder whether these characters will make the morally ideal choices, we understand, given the flawed worlds in which they live, that they may prove to be as imperfect as their environment.
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