“The Wolf Age” by James Enge – to judge a book by its cover, this is gonna be awesome

A. Quinton — Aug. 4th 2010

Normally I’m not inclined to pay much attention to fantasy novels with the word “wolf” in the title. If there are werewolves in the story (and there aren’t always), they tend to be framed in the context of mystical spirit warriors, in touch with nature but aloof from humankind. I don’t know about you, but that angle bores the hell out of me. Put a picture of a giant wolf on the cover, give his eye a mysterious gleam, surround him with verdant hills or snow-covered trees and maybe have a woman standing beside him with her hand on his back, and I will skip right on by to see if Terry Pratchett’s done anything new lately.

All of this is to say that I’m not real big on (were)wolf fantasy books. Then a week or two ago, PenningtonBeast sent me a link to “The Wolf Age“, a fantasy novel by James Enge due out October 5th. Two things struck me right away. First, I judged the book by its cover (hi-res version!) and detected potential for awesomeness. That mean-looking guy has a torch and the requisite glowing sword, but he’s also got problems. That’s a lot of werewolves, and they’re not happy. Second, the story sounds really interesting. The synopsis is loaded with things I normally avoid, like fantasy names and keywords like “immortal”, “gods” and “northlands”, but dang if it doesn’t sound like a story I want to know the end of:

Wuruyaaria: city of werewolves, whose raiders range over the dying northlands, capturing human beings for slaves or meat. Wuruyaaria: where a lone immortal maker wages a secret war against the Strange Gods of the Coranians. Wuruyaaria: a democracy where some are more equal than others, and a faction of outcast werewolves is determined to change the balance of power in a long, bloody election year.

Where can I get a travel brochure for Wuruyaaria? How can I get registered as a voter? Short of that, I guess we’ll have to wait until the book comes out on October 5th. I get the sense that this book is related to two others that Enge has written, Blood of Ambrose and This Crooked Way. Those got some solid reviews, so I’ll be checking those out before October comes around. And if illustrator Dominic Harmon and designer Jacqueline Cooke ever offer a poster of that cover…

  • Viergacht

    I’m with you on the “spirit warrior” werewolves, good god that angle’s been raped, beaten, done to death and then raped again.
    I have a higher tolerance for fantasy tropes than you seem to, though, this looks worth checking out.