Wolfsangel by M D Lachlan
The Viking, King Authun leads his men on a raid against an Anglo-Saxon village. Men and women are killed indiscriminately but Authun demands that no child be touched. He is acting on prophecy. A prophecy that tells him that the Saxons have stolen a child from the Gods. If Authun, in turn, takes the child and raises him as an heir, the child will lead his people to glory. But Authun discovers not one child, but twin baby boys. Ensuring that his faithful warriors, witnesses to what has happened, die during the raid Authun takes the children and their mother home, back to the witches who live on the troll wall. And he places his destiny in their hands. And so begins a stunning multi-volume fantasy epic that will take a werewolf from his beginnings as the heir to a brutal Viking king, down through the ages. It is a journey that will see him hunt for his lost love through centuries and lives, and see the endless battle between the wolf, Odin and Loki – the eternal trickster – spill over into countless bloody conflicts from our history, and over into our lives.
I’ll start with a small confession. I bought Wolfsangel way back when it was originally released in 2010 and have let it lie on my ever growing ‘to be read’ pile for over a year. I don’t feel massively guilty about it, however, as it was actually one of the inspirations behind Werewolf Appreciation Month. I rediscovered my copy of the book last month and it gave me the idea to run a theme month based on werewolves and the werewolf legend.
The two boys that King Authun kidnaps are the main protagonists of the novel. They grow up apart, neither knowing of the others existence. Vali is raised as the King Authun’s son, and has everything that a boy could wish for. This life makes him somewhat spoiled, and not immediately the easiest character to empathise with, well not initially anyway. His story really picks up when he is forced to fend for himself after his adoptive father effectively disowns him. Meanwhile, the other brother, Feileg is left to survive in the wilds amongst the mountain men and the wolves. This brutal lifestyle leaves its mark and by the time he is in his teens he is more animal than man. He has learned to kill with his bare hands and eat his meals raw. It’s a nice juxtaposition to witness the differing lives of these two siblings.
On a larger scale there are various political schemes and plots afoot between several warring kingdoms. This guarantees that there is plenty of blood-thirsty action. I particularly liked the berserker mercenaries when they were introduced. There are a number of excellent battle scenes that vividly depicts their unrestrained violent behaviour. This is where the plot of Wolfsangel really excels. Lachlan has an eye for detail that incorporates both the small details of individual character plots with the epic visuals of frenzied fast paced battles.
The werewolves in Wolfsangel are quite different from others that I have come across elsewhere during this month. There is more of a blending of man and animal. Feileg has a bestial quality due to his upbringing, as the story progresses he slowly re-learns what it means to be human. Vali meanwhile, suffers the opposite fate. He becomes more and more of a beast.
A highlight of the book was the vivid description of the transformation from man to wolf. It is handled extremely well really puts the reader in the skin of the werewolf.
It is fairly obvious from the outset that Lachlan has incorporated key elements of Norse mythology into the story, and does this with great success. Odin and Loki both appear and those who are familiar with those tales will find a lot to enjoy. This is married together with shamanistic magic used by witches, to create a story that is not only action packed but works on a metaphysical level as well.
Wolfsangel and its sequel, Fenrir are available now. I can assure you I certainly won’t be waiting so long before I get around to reading book two in this series.