A richly atmospheric historical fantasy about shapeshifters struggling to survive in the decadent city of Rome during the Dark Ages.
Rome is mired in crumbling grandeur. Into the Eternal City comes Regeane, a young woman distantly related to Charlemagne, and as such an unwilling pawn in the struggle for political power. But unknown to all, she is a shapeshifter: woman and wolf.
Betrothed to a barbarian lord she has never seen, she is surrounded by enemies. The most notorious, her depraved uncle and guardian, who will betray her to the Church unless she aids him in his sinister schemes. If the Church discovers her secret, she will burn at the stake.
Outside the gates of Rome there is a mysterious dark wolf who seems to offer Regeane a wildly seductive new life, yet as her marriage looms plots and deadly counterplots tighten like a noose around her neck. Uncertain friendships are her only hope between a choice of life and death in the corrupt and decadent city of Rome.
Fast-paced, sensual and rich with historical detail, The Silver Wolf will place Alice Borchardt squarely in the front rank of contemporary women writers. Her intricate plot and hypnotic voice will cast a spell few will be able to resist.
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Eighth-century Rome is a shell of its Imperial past, pullulating with whores, pickpockets and mercenaries, and yet strategically the Pope and his cardinals are key players in the game of thrones that is taking place beyond the Alps. Regeane, a distant kinswoman of Charles, the King of the Franks whom men are already starting to call the Great, is sent to Rome as bride, and bribe, to Maeniel, whose Alpine fortress commands a crucial pass. Endlessly brutalised by the corrupt uncle who murdered her father, Regeane is at once pinioned and freed by her secret--she regularly turns into a great killing wolf. Once in Rome, she finds herself new friends--the courtesan Lucilla, her leper son Antonius and the pope himself--and starts to realise that her future does not have to be one of betrayal and nightmare. And Maeniel has secrets of his own, and is not at all the uncouth thug Regeane and the Romans expect. This is a powerful and sexy historical fantasy with intelligent surprises in its plotting and some attractively spooky magic; Regeane is always more than the victim she thinks herself and finds resources of toughness which make her a memorable character. -- Roz KaveneyReview:
‘A daring and vibrant new voice on the female literary frontier – a writer with the vision and scope to conjure up her own thrilling mythos and the craftsmanship to render it in breathtaking, shimmering prose… The Silver Wolf is a stunning initiation into a dark and dazzling realm’
‘A marvellous tale, it is a thriller, tragedy, horror and eventually a fairy-tale love story’
‘Borchardt reaches descriptive and dramatic peaks with Regeane’s vulpine supersenses as she noses about Rome by night, reading the dead city’s skin and air. Top-flight fantasy’
‘A very vividly written story. I really got into it’
Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Book Description Voyager, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002247151