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The Wolf Gift - Book Review

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by Chrystal Byrne (subscribe)
Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published August 5th 2013
Man or Monster?
Reuben Golding is everyone's favourite 'sunshine child'; the blue-eyed baby of the family, the blossoming gifted writer, the well-to-do successful journalist boyfriend of a well-to-do successful lawyer girlfriend. He's content, but feels unfulfilled – until he ventures to the grand old house at Nideck Point to source his next story, and sparks the changes that consume the rest of his life.

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
The Wolf Gift (2012)

On assignment for the (fictional) San Francisco Observer, Rueben Golding arrives at an isolated deep-rooted mansion, set high atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, at the behest of the estate's current owner, Marchent Nideck. Marchent seeks to sell the long-standing family property; move away from the area and her family's unsolved mysteries; and wants the San Francisco Observer to print a feature article on the house to garner interest. Ultimately Marchent desires closure, and she discusses the Nideck family history openly and honestly with reporter Reuben.

Reuben is enchanted by both Marchent and the property; the eloquent, graceful and knowledgeable older woman in her magnificent time-honoured history-steeped home; and swiftly becomes besotted with her. Marchent reciprocates Reuben's obvious admiration and affection and the pair come together for a night of idyllic passion– until the dream is shattered by betrayal, greed and fatal violence. On that night, Reuben is bitten by a great hulking beast – unseen in the rural darkness – and his life changes forever.

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
My personal copy of The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice.

When Reuben wakes – in hospital with his loved ones scared and shocked – it's to questions, tests and speculations. Reuben should be dead, but he's not. He's 'lucky to be alive'. Reuben has healed uncommonly fast – without the slightest hint of scarring – and isn't stopping. Growth hormones are flooding Reuben's body, the body of a fully-grown man, making him 'bigger', and everyone can see. His hair is growing thicker and lush. He's physically stronger than he's ever been. Then he starts hearing voices that he cannot possibly be hearing: people in other rooms, people walking on sidewalks many floors below him out in the open, people in completely different buildings. He becomes restless, urgent, frenzied almost. He needs to be out in fresh air, greater spaces.

Then Reuben starts to smell the evil in people, and the transformation comes.

The questions begin.

What did this to him? Animal or no?
Are there others out there like him?
Is the nature of this transformation good or evil? Is he good or evil?
Has he been given a gift, a blessing?

Is he a man, or a monster?

Anne Rice
Anne Rice (picture from Wikipedia).

The Wolf Gift by renowned supernatural writer Anne Rice was published in February, 2012 by Random House. The Wolf Gift is Rice's 31st printed novel, and joins her myriad of works published across three names; her pseudonyms: Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure, and her most recognised name, Anne Rice. The Wolf Gift is Rice's first foray into the world of werewolves; vampires being the creature that feature in most of her paranormal prose. Anne Rice is perhaps best known for her popular and influential series of novels, The Vampire Chronicles, revolving around the central character of Lestat. Two novels from this series were the subject of film adaptations, Interview with the Vampire in 1994, and Queen of the Damned in 2002.

Anne Rice has put her hand to many works of gothic fiction, erotica, fantasy, Christian literature and horror – she's even published a memoir: Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession. As well as the film adaptations mentioned above, Rice's works have been adapted for television, theatre, fanfic (fan fiction) and even comics.

The Wolf Gift is the first novel in Rice's latest developing series: The Wolf Gift Chronicles. The sequel, The Wolves of Midwinter, is due for release in October, 2013.

The Wolves of Midwinter
The Wolves of Midwinter (2013)

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