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The Wolf Gift

Cover of The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift Chronicles, Book 1
by Anne Rice
A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles ("unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable"--The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches ("Anne Rice will live on...More
A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles ("unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable"--The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches ("Anne Rice will live on...More
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Description-
  • A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles ("unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable"--The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches ("Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature"--San Francisco Chronicle), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim ("remarkable"--Associated Press). A whole new world--modern, sleek, high-tech--and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create.

    The time is the present.

    The place, the rugged coast of Northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

    A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer . . . An older woman welcoming him into her magnificent family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . An idyllic night--shattered by horrific unimaginable violence, the young man inexplicably attacked--bitten--by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation, as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing what he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

    As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as "the Man Wolf" by authorities, the media, and scientists (evidence of DNA threatens to reveal his dual existence) . . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there may be others like him who are watching--guardian creatures who have existed throughout time who possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge. And throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

Excerpts-
  • From the book

    I

    Reuben was a tall man, well over six feet, with brown curly hair and deep-­set blue eyes. "Sunshine Boy" was his nickname and he hated it; so he tended to repress what the world called an irresistible smile. But he was a little too happy right now to put on his studious expression, and try to look older than his twenty-­three years.

    He was walking up a steep hill in the fierce ocean wind with an exotic and elegant older woman named Marchent Nideck and he really loved all she was saying about the big house on the cliff. She was lean with a narrow beautifully sculpted face, and that kind of yellow hair that never fades. She wore it straight back from her forehead in a soft wavy swinging bob that curled under just above her shoulders. He loved the picture she made in her long brown knit dress and high polished brown boots.

    He was doing a story for the San Francisco Observer on the giant house and her hopes of selling it now that the estate had at last been settled, and her great-­uncle Felix Nideck had been declared officially dead. The man had been gone for twenty years, but his will had only just been opened, and the house had been left to Marchent, his niece.

    They'd been walking the forested slopes of the property since Reuben arrived, visiting a ramshackle old guesthouse and the ruin of a barn. They'd followed old roads and old paths lost in the brush, and now and then come out on a rocky ledge above the cold iron-­colored Pacific, only to duck back quickly into the sheltered and damp world of gnarled oak and bracken.

    Reuben wasn't dressed for this, really. He'd driven north in his usual "uniform" of worsted-­wool blue blazer over a thin cashmere sweater, and gray slacks. But at least he had a scarf for his neck that he'd pulled from the glove compartment. And he really didn't mind the biting cold.

    The huge old house was wintry with deep slate roofs and diamond-­pane windows. It was built of rough-­faced stone, and had countless chimneys rising from its steep gables, and a sprawling conservatory on the west side, all white iron and glass. Reuben loved it. He'd loved it in the photographs online but nothing had prepared him for its solemn grandeur.

    He'd grown up in an old house on San Francisco's Russian Hill, and spent a lot of time in the impressive old homes of Presidio Heights, and the suburbs of San Francisco, including Berkeley, where he'd gone to school, and Hillsborough, where his late grandfather's half-­timber mansion had been the holiday gathering place for many a year. But nothing he had ever seen could compare to the Nideck family home.

    The sheer scale of this place, stranded as it was in its own park, suggested another world.

    "The real thing," he'd said under his breath the moment he'd seen it. "Look at those slate roofs, and those must be copper gutters." Lush green vines covered over half the immense structure, reaching all the way to the highest windows, and he'd sat in his car for a long moment, kind of pleasantly astonished and a little worshipful, dreaming of owning a place like this someday when he was a famous writer and the world beat too broad a path to his door.

    This was turning out to be just a glorious afternoon.

    It had hurt him to see the guesthouse dilapidated and unlivable. But Marchent assured him the big house was in good repair.

    He could have listened to her talk forever. Her accent wasn't British exactly, or Boston or New York. But it was unique, the accent of a child of the world, and it gave her words a lovely preciseness and silvery ring.

    "Oh, I know it's beautiful. I know it's like no place else on the...

About the Author-
  • Anne Rice is the author of thirty-one books. She lives in Palm Desert, California.

Reviews-
  • Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe "I want to howl at the moon over this...I devoured these pages...[A] terrific new novel. . . . The plot [is] magnetic, the characters fascinating, and Rice's style as solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction."
  • Joy Tipping, The Dallas Morning News "[A]n energetic gambol, feisty and terrific fun. . . . [A] fast-paced, heady romp that ranks with her best. . . . Wolf Gift is irresistible."
  • Liz Colville, San Francisco Chronicle "[I]n Rice's hands, The Wolf Gift evolves from a fantastical romp into an engrossing thriller. . . ."
  • Aidan Johnson, The Globe and Mail "Anne Rice combines a vast literary gift with a shameless love of sex, beauty and pop culture. Her artistic vision is part Bela Lugosi, part Andy Warhol, part Christina the Astonishing, the medieval holy woman who could famously "smell sin."...The Wolf Gift will leave open-minded readers howling for more."
  • Publishers Weekly "[E]xciting tale of a contemporary werewolf. . . . Rice's classic concerns regarding good and evil and shifting views of reality play out wonderfully in what will surely please fans and newcomers alike."
  • Diana Pinckley, New Orleans Times-Picayune "[O]ne part 'Beauty and the Beast' love story, one part meditation on morality and immortality, and one part superman tale. . . . Told in the memorable style that won Rice's vampire series so many readers, The Wolf Gift is an intriguing new take on the classic werewolf legend...Rice deepens and gives nuance to classic werewolf lore."
  • Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post "Rice has never shied away from tackling Big Issues...The Wolf Gift marks a return to form while still giving a nod to spiritual matters...[A] delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting and suspense."
  • Tirdad Derakhshani, The Philadelphia Inquirer "Anne Rice is back"
  • Rob LeFebvre, Shelf Awareness "[W]ritten with compelling modernity...The Wolf Gift is a strong--and welcome--return to the monster mythology that made Anne Rice famous."
  • Ray Palen, Bookreporter.com "With both thrilling acts of horror and a final act that is deeply based in the mythology of the Wolf Gift and its history --- and bordering on lycanthropic existentialism --- this novel opens readers up to a world they only thought they knew...The characters come alive, and the strange history of the Nideck family will jump off the page and enter the readers' nightmares as Rice has found a new gothic saga to sink her teeth into."
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