cover image The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift

Anne Rice. Knopf, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-307-59511-9

Rice (Interview with a Vampire) begins a new series with this exciting tale of a contemporary werewolf. Reuben Golding, in his first serious job as a reporter for the San Francisco Observer, is sent to interview Marchent Nideck, an older woman trying to sell a massive timeworn family house in California's redwood forest. Reuben is captivated by the rugged setting, the house and its secrets, and the many treasures left behind by Marchent's Uncle Felix, who mysteriously disappeared 20 years prior. While staying at the house, Reuben is awakened during the night by sounds of an attack. Rushing to help Marchent, he is shocked when a hairy beast kills the intruders but stops its assault on Reuben after biting his face. Reuben learns that Marchent is dead when he awakens in a San Francisco hospital, and his guilt at his inability to save her becomes mixed with astonishment when he learns that she had willed her house to him. He begins to register strange physical changes during his recovery, and soon Reuben transforms fully into a werewolf when he senses that someone nearby is being victimized, swiftly coming to their aid. Each heroic rescue (and concomitant violent killing of the perpetrators) sets off a media frenzy, impelling Reuben to retreat into the isolation of his new home. Rice's classic concerns regarding good and evil and shifting views of reality play out wonderfully in what will surely please fans and newcomers alike. 200,000 announced first printing. (Feb.)