The Silver Wolf

Alice Borchardt, Author Del Rey Books $24.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-345-42360-3
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.
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Prebound-Glued - 460 pages - 978-1-4176-4826-9
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-21645-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-345-42361-0
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