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Wolfskin Hardcover – June 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306722
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The clash of cultures and the limits of loyalty form the thematic framework of Marillier's compelling new stand-alone fantasy. Readers familiar with the author's Sevenwaters trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, etc.) will feel comfortable with the Dark Ages setting. Young Viking Eyvind dreams of serving the god Thor and the nobleman Ulf as an elite Wolfskin warrior. While training, he's charged with teaching Ulf's prickly younger brother Somerled, and the two become blood brothers, swearing lifelong loyalty. But the oath isn't enough to quiet suspicions about Somerled's ambitions to become a king and the means he might take to accomplish them. The two join Ulf on a voyage to a legendary land, "a place of warm sea currents, of verdant islands and sheltered waterways," home to the peaceful Folk of the Light Islands, ruled by King Engus. Though Engus extends a hand of friendship to the sea rovers, his niece, the young priestess Nessa, has her doubts about the warlike newcomers. When a foreign fever decimates the Folk but leaves the seafarers untouched, the truce begins to unravel. A multilayered plot, intriguing characters and lyrical prose distinguish a novel that, long as it is, never feels padded.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The only things young Eyvind has ever wanted--passionately!--are to be a Viking warrior, a Wolfskin, and to serve the mighty war god, Thor. One summer night during his fifteenth year, Wolfskins take Eyvind from the home of his mother and into the mountains for the harrowing warrior's initiation. Eyvind passes with flying colors and quickly earns a reputation as the strongest, most fearless Wolfskin in his jarl's retinue. He is now sure of his life path: a short but glorious life as a Wolfskin, with perhaps a woman and a child or two, leading to an honorable warrior's death. The gods have other plans for Eyvind, however--plans that will take him to a strange land of unsurpassed beauty, to a wild young priestess who saves his life and captures his heart, and ultimately to the edge of sanity, where he will either find his unique soul or lose it forever. An engrossing, beautifully written work of historical fiction and a portrait of a man's fierce struggle to find his own truth. Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Also, the novel felt a little too long.
Rich Gubitosi
I look forward to reading Foxmask, the second book that follows, which is also not unlike the Sevenwaters trilogy in its link between children to continue the story.
Caroline
Anything that draws my eyes out of the book is not a good thing.
R. Willman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Kseniya Slavsky on January 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book surprised me. People told me that, yeah, it was decent, but nothing to the Sevenwaters trilogy. I walked around it at the book store for nearly a year, thinking, I'll get it in paperback. I mean, I don't *really* want to read it. Finally, I gave in, got it. I've been reading some crappy books, lately. I was not expecting much here, either.
Stupid, stupid me. I re-read the Sevenwaters books every few month, at least in pieces. It shocks me now that I could have expected anything but excellence from Wolfskin.
The story is set in Norway and in Orkney, in the days of Vikings. The main character is, in fact, one of these northern warriors - the very best. He is a very simple man, is Eyvind. All he wants is to be a brave warrior for three, maybe five glorious years, and then to die a brave and glorious death. He is, for lack of a better word, wholesome. Despite the fact that he basically kills people for a living.šš
When Eyvind is a boy, his brother brings home another boy child - Somerled - and asks Eyvind to teach this boy to be a man. Somerled is as complicated a person as Eyvind is simple; as unhappy as Eyvind is content; as brilliant as Eyvind is strong; as strong as Eyvind is brilliant - which is to say, not much. Nobody likes Somerled. Spending time with him loses Eyvind all his friends for the few months each year when Somerled is visiting. And yet... They become brothers, in more ways than one.šš
Eventually, they grow up. Eyvind is the warrior he intended to be. Somerled seems to have a brilliant future at court. Everything seems right and just as it should be, except for some things that Somerled does - some things that are less than humane, less than conscionable - some things that are beyond Eyvind's ability to believe of his friend.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having read The Sevenwaters Trilogy, I was somewhat nervous about reading this new effort by Marillier. Too often in the past, I have been disappointed by second series from an author. Not this time.
I won't try to compare the two, as this is a more realistic painting, with less, though not empty of, the magical elements of the old myths and legends. It is an excellent psychological portrayal of disparate personalities, forged in totally different settings and cultures.
Marillier's blending of historical reality and fantastical imagination was well paced, beautifully worded and ended with a combination of both hopefulness and a fear for the future. All the characters came vividly to life.
The basis of the story is written in other reviews, but the beauty of the book is in how it is brought to life. There is no stereotyping, no simplistic escapes. There is no dumb Norseman, no feministic ranting, no male chauvanistic chest beating.
For a reader who likes depth to his or her fantasy reading, who likes character and plot development over gory action, this is the book for you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Although I felt this was a strong foray into another world for Marillier, Wolfskin never ended up affecting me as strongly as her previous Sevenwaters trilogy. The book in general was an excellent read, with some extremely haunting parts regarding Somerled's acts that made the story more real for me. However, after bringing the story to an emotional height, Marillier still had about 100 pages to go, and those 100 felt a little too dragged out for me.
Although the fate of the Isles still had to be decided by the end, I felt as though much of the tension and interaction between the main characters had already been resolved, leaving me a bit bored while waiting for the ending to fall into place. I would still recommend it as a good book -- just doesn't compare to her first trilogy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marwolv on July 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Reading over the reviews other readers have given, I can see frustration in the lines. too little, too late, some say....can't find the good part, others say. If you've read the Sevenwaters Trillogy, and you expect this to be also the Sevenwaters Trilogy, then yes, you're to be frustrated.

The main character is not so perfect, here. Indeed, a great deal of psychological and sociological ugliness happens in this book, and there's many times when you want to reach into the pages and grab necks and thump heads, but that is the power of Juliet Marillier's writing.

The first chunck is slow. Yes, indeed. Painfully so. But folks, get past the first bit, and you won't be sorry.

It's a story of the evolution of personal mentality and ethics and awareness that takes the book to span. The psychology is good. The characters breathe. It isn't a tidy story...the convenient thing doesn't happen, and it does not bend to the reader's want for instant and complete gratification.

I ADORE this book, even more than Daughter of the Forest, because of that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anika Leithner on July 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book. The writing is beautiful, though not brilliant, and the story flows nicely with enough of a balance between action and character development.
Probably the main reason why I wouldn't give this book five stars is because I feel that it doesn't quite live up to its potential. Marillier has plenty of wonderful ideas for plot and and characters, but at times I felt a little cheated, as though she had taken the 'easy way out'. For instance, I immediately liked the main character Eynvind and his introduction to an elite warrior society known as the Wolfskins. The fact that Eynvind's brother is already an extremely successful member of this group makes for an interesting situation, I thought (younger brother, wants to prove himself, has to live up to his older brother's example, etc.). Although there are trials to overcome for Eynvind, however, he moves through them relatively quickly and without major problems, becoming one of the leading warrior himself very soon.
The ending is similarly promising, and similarly disappointing. Marillier sets up a numbers of problems and obstacles for Eynvind to overcome, and he indeed struggles for a while, but in the end all the problems seem to disappear rather too easily, without a sufficient explanation. It almost feels as if she had gotten bored or run out of steam and just wanted to finish the book as quickly as possible.
As I said, I truly enjoyed this book overall and would recommend reading it, but I was not 100% satisfied.
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