With the release of her Vampire Chronicles featuring Vampire Lestat and a number of other creatures of the night during the 1970s and ’80s, author Anne Rice effectively established what we now know as the modern gothic horror novel.Vampire series like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight all owe debts of gratitude to Rice for paving the way for their success. We seem to be vampired out in recent years with none of the recent entries in the genre coming close to Rice’s original INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.
Upon achieving great success with tales of vampires, witches and mummies, Rice turned away from the genre with which she made her breakthrough. She went through a major personal life change that included a direct impact on her feeling of spirituality. She penned two novels about the life of Jesus Christ and even released a nonfiction work, CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS, which outlined her break from the world of horror and why she was concentrating on her religious faith. Her writing soon turned towards tales of angels, and readers could see a slight return to the type of novels for which she became famous.
"...a terrific read by a master of her craft. Less blood and guts and more character-driven narrative fuel THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER and make for a great fall release."
In early 2012, gothic horror fans would be rewarded for their patience when the first novel in her Wolf Gift series released, and they were introduced to a new protagonist: Reuben Golding, the Man Wolf.The second installment of this saga, THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER, opens with a brief overview of the first. This is much needed as the characters are plentiful and the plot lines constantly growing. Reuben is a young journalist who goes on an assignment in modern-day Northern California and ends up getting more than he bargained for. He is bitten by a werewolf and, in essence, given the wolf gift; using his powers for good, he is dubbed the Man Wolf by the local media.
The Man Wolf passes on his gift to a young man who he finds being victimized by a group of homophobic gay bashers. Now, with his protégé Stuart by his side, Reuben has joined with other elder members of the Morphenkinder clan at the grand mansion at Nideck Point.The Morphenkinder are getting prepared for the winter holiday season and the ancient celebration that takes place during the Midwinter period. It is here that Reuben is exposed to a new category of being --- an ageless community of forest spirits referred to as the Forest Gentry. These beings inhabit a strange netherworld whereby they are able to commune with both the living and the dead.
It is through these ageless spirits that Reuben is drawn as their dark magical powers might allow him to reconnect with his deceased love, Marchent. However, this relationship will not come without a cost, and Reuben will soon find himself caught in the middle of an ancient battle that once again will come to a head during the Midwinter season.
Even though Rice’s latest gothic horror effort does not possess the bite (no pun intended) as her Vampire Chronicles, it is still a terrific read by a master of her craft. Less blood and guts and more character-driven narrative fuel THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER and make for a great fall release.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 17, 2013