Sunday, 16 February 2014

Review - The Wolf's Hour by Robert R. McCammon

While looking for the ever elusive "good" werewolf novel, I heard about McCammon's The Wolf's Hour. And, what I read of people's opinions of it, I was immediately intrigued. A sample soon led to a purchase and I was devouring the novel at a speed I rarely achieve these days.

The story takes place at two levels: one in an unnamed forest in Russia where the protagonist takes his first steps as a werewolf, and the other during World War II, mainly in France and Germany, where the protagonist acts as a British secret agent. The stories intertwine only slightly - the past having less effect to the "present" than one would expect, but both stories would suffer if it existed without the other. Personally, I was more taken by the events in Russia and the early life of the werewolf. It is definitely the more tragic story, while the WW2 story is closer to action adventure. However, even this part includes many tragic scenes.

McCammon's werewolf concept is a very traditional one: men who turn into actual wolves, but retain their human mind. There's no bipedal werewolf in the mix, although it is possible to learn to change one's form bit by bit - for example starting with the hand/paw or head. The story also implies that it is possible to "lose oneself" in the wolf form and never turn back into a human - or to become a mad wolf who only exists to kill.

Overall, I am very impressed by this novel and I definitely look forward to reading more from McCammon. There's a anthology sequel for The Wolf's Hour, but I'm hoping for additional new novels as well.