My 200th post. Who ever would have predicted that I wouldn’t have got bored and given up by now? But no, here I am, still avoiding doing real work. Perhaps it was kind of predictable after all…
But Christmas is coming, and what better time to recommend things that none of you will be able to get for months? Wolfsangel, by MD Lachlan is being published by Gollancz next year (which is how come I’ve got hold of a manuscript), and it is a strange brew indeed. Part fantasy, part horror, part historical adventure, bound up with a tight, lean style and featuring some of the strangest and most sinister magic I’ve encountered.
It’s set in dark ages scandinavia so, you know, vikings and that, but supposes that some of the magical elements of norse myth are real. Or kind of real. Maybe. So in one sense it’s set in our world, but in another it reminded me of Robert Low’s excellent The Whale Road in that it manages to evoke the weirdness of the viking mindset to the point where even the normal people feel a lot more alien than most denizens of epic fantasy. It’s savage, dark, strange and unpredictable, which are all good things in my book.
I guess if I had to be critical (and you know how much I hate doing that) I’d say that I felt the book was at its most effective when it stayed pretty firmly anchored in the real – or at least in the viking world rather than the full-on magical one. Towards the end the magical elements came more and more to the fore while the politics, warfare and viking life dropped away. I wouldn’t say it lost it’s way, but it found it’s way to some pretty strange ground alright.
But overall, a dark and original book, recommended for people who like weird magic, unpredictable outcomes, gore, and vikings, which, let’s face it, is probably everyone who reads this blog…
10 comments so far
The amazon blurb mentions werewolves too! Sounds like it might be worth a look, although i may have forgotten about it by May.
Does it work as a single story or is it clearly part 1 of x?
I've been waiting for a Viking take of the Werewolf Mythology for a while, and this'll hopefully fit that niche.
Thanks Joe, you really are too good to your weird-loving readers.
Speaking of Christmas I hope you have pulled yourself away from Dragon Age long enough to get the wife something nice. Otherwise instead of being on Santa's naughty list you will be on her shit list!
There's actually some really great stuff from White Wolf that takes on the werewolf genre from an old Norse perspective. Granted, it's all roleplaying game stuff, but it's still very interesting.
As for Wolfsangel, I'm going to have to take a look, even though the title is absolutely atrocious. It sounds like an old Yahoo chat handle.
Or we could just read about the pretty werewolves who don't wear shirts in the Twilight Saga.
Hope it's as good as the Steel remains and retribution falls. Both terrific reads and both the start of a series.
You've hinted that publishers often send you copies hoping for a recommendation and you've not, go on tells us the names.
Joe (and fellow posters), if I asked you recomend some other fiction which you might describe using words like " savage, dark, strange, or sinister" what would you suggest?
"savage, dark, strange, or sinister" – Michael Jackson's biography…
Someone had to say it. Anyways looks like a great read. Magic vikings? It's almost like the author can see my dreams, minus the singing dinosaurs of course.
I just saw Wolfsangel in the book store for the first time yesterday, and noticed, on the front cover, there’s a quote from you!
If other authors are using your say-so to sell their books, you’ve hit the big time! 🙂