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Wolfbreed Paperback – August 25, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Wolfbreed tells the tale of how Uldolf, a young man crippled since something happened to his parents when he was a child, meets a girl named Lilly in the woods. Uldolf doesn't know it, but Lilly has recently escaped from the custody of Teutonic knights by transforming into a wolf. The story periodically flashes back to both of their childhoods, revealing bonds they have both forgotten. It isn't hard to see where it's all going, but even so the plot progresses in a compelling way and both Uldolf and Lilly are likable enough that you can't help but care about them and the love story here is charming without being sickeningly saccharine. Similarly, the background it's all set against is carefully researched, richly nuanced and throughly engaging.
Basically: it's a great read from start to finish, and I recommend it wholeheartedly!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the entirely new way (new for me) that this supernatural creature was conveyed in this story. Read morePublished on May 2, 2012 by KelMaya
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... Read morePublished on October 17, 2011 by misplaced cajun
4.5 The Church controlling the population and hunting pagans is something I usually shy away from in stories. The Teutonic knight's torture, rape and maim in the name of their god. Read morePublished on April 29, 2011 by YodaMom
"Wolfbreed was a thoroughly engaging and engrossing read. Set in the 12th century, the author fills the pages with interesting characters, fine historical detail, blood stirring... Read morePublished on March 28, 2011 by Anna
I enjoy a bit of romance in stories, but this book lost me when the author started to give a too-descriptive account of the main characters night together. Read morePublished on July 23, 2010 by Kim
An exceptional read, very well done. A nice blend of history and genre, with plenty of action that never feels gratuitous despite buckets of blood, and a healthy dollop of... Read morePublished on December 17, 2009 by S. Ramey
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. Read morePublished on October 11, 2009 by Katie Babs