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Saturday, December 11, 2010

David Wellington: A WEREWOLF TALE

Author: David Wellington
Series: A WEREWOLF TALE 
Plot Type: Fantasy with a touch of Horror)
Ratings: V5, S2-3, H2-3
Publisher and Titles: Three Rivers Press
      Frostbite (2009)
      Overwinter (2010)

     David Wellington tells terrific paranormal stories, and he chooses spectacular cover art that graphically portrays the horror of his supernatural creatures. I enjoyed his LAURA CAXTON vampire series, with its gruesome vamps and plucky heroine, and this series is just as great and just as horror-filled.

     The heroine here is Cheyenne (Chey) Clark, an American woman who hates werewolves with a deep and abiding passion. At the beginning of Frostbite, Chey is on foot and alone in the wilds of the Northwest Territories in search of something or someone unknown to the reader. After getting caught in a flash flood, Chey's trip goes from bad to worse when she meets up with a fierce werewolf and her life is changed forever.

     Eventually, we get Chey's back story and learn the reason for both her werewolf hatred and her solitary trip into the woods. We also meet Montgomery Powell, a lone Canadian werewolf who has done his best to stay away from humans in order to keep himself from killing them. In this world, werewolves have many of the usual characteristics: moon-related change, allergy to silver, blood lust, and super strength. These werewolves, however, don't change just once a month. They change every time the moon rises, and in the northern winter the moon-rise time can be very long.  Essentially, then, they spend half their lives in wolf form. When they are in wolf form, they hate humans and live only to kill them; when they are human, they do not remember what they did as wolves. They are descended from the dire wolf, a massive North American wolf that is now extinct. Humans, and particularly secretive Canadian government operatives, know all about the existence of werewolves.  They want to use the north woods for their own purposes, so they need the werewolves to be wiped out ASAP.  

     Frostbite takes Powell and Chey through the beginnings of their relationship as Chey resigns herself to her new life and the pair manages to defeat the first group of villains. In Overwinter, a third werewolf turns up at their campsite wanting to renew her old acquaintance with Powell, while a vengeful and colorful new hunter sets his sights on all three of them.

     The subtle humor in Frostbite comes from Dzo, a person...or spirit...or something else who seems to live in the forest...or in the lake...or somewhere else and appears seemingly out of thin air to assist Powell and Chey with various tasks.  Dzo's humor comes from his apparent cluelessness about many aspects of human culture (e.g., Chey's modesty when naked). In the more humorous Overwinter, more of Dzo's fellow creatures from Inuit mythology turn up, adding to the humor before a not-happily-after ending resolves the plot line.  Wait until you see who rescues the werewolves from the snowmobiling hunters. I laughed out loud!

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