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Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

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REVIEW | Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan (Pyr)

A cabal of mad witches, Norse Gods, bloody battles, and an unrepentant attitude rule Wolfsangel with harsh realities.

Wolfsangel is a gripping world with a rich story that is rife with hidden meaning in so many places. Long have I been fascinated with Norse mythology including their gods, associated stories, and even the power of the runes. Long have I also searched for a book that used Norse mythology so well. The best prior had been American Gods, but I've never thought of that as a true Norse novel. Wolfsangel uses a more historical view on the Norse and its culture and you can feel all the research that has been done about the minutia of their way of life in every chapter.

The story surrounds two brothers separated at birth both being trust into different worlds. One grows up as a wild animal while the other leads a fairly soft existence, but the juxtaposition that goes on with them as the story progresses and the werewolf mythos that surrounds them is astounding. The connections to the Fenrir wolf mythos (the wolf destined to kill Odin and bring about Ragnarök) is particularly well done as does Lachlan's use of berserkers. The best part is the werewolves fit so naturally in this world. Unapologetic, visceral, and at times gorey this isn't a novel for those who don't enjoy the dark parts of history and mythology.

There isn't much happiness in the world of Wolfsangel. Characters are subjected to terrible personal tragedies and whole groups are decimated for no good reason other than because they were ripe for the killing. Even people taken in as slaves seem to accept it all too easily, but the alternative is even grimmer: death. This is a remorseless world that is only going to get bloodier before it is all over. Complex and haunting, Wolfsangel is a challenging read on many levels, but a very worthy one.

If Scorsese decided to do a historical piece involving the Norse and werewolves you'd get something very much like Wolfsangel. It is not a fun read, but Wolfsangel is without a doubt the best and most honest use of Norse mythology and history I've ever read in fiction. I give Wolfsangel 9 out of 10 hats. For a debut Fantasy Lachlan has certainly sets the bar high. Wolfsangel is the first in the Wolfsangel trilogy with the sequel Fenrir scheduled for an October release in the US and July in the UK.

M.D. Lachlan is a pen name for Mark Barrowcliffe who has also been writing literary fiction and non-fiction for many years. I can recommend his memoir The Elfish Gene to Dungeons and Dragons fans for a good view of growing up when DnD first hit the market.

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