In Anne Rice's surprising and compelling best-selling novel, the first of her strange and mythic imagining of the world of wolfen powers, readers and listeners were spellbound as Rice conjured up a daring new world set against the wild and beckoning California coast.
Now in her new novel, as lush and romantic in detail and atmosphere as it is sleek and steely in storytelling, Anne Rice takes us once again to the rugged coastline of Northern California, to the grand mansion at Nideck Point, and further explores the unearthly education of her transformed Man Wolf.
The novel opens on a cold, gray landscape. It is the beginning of December. Oak fires are burning in the stately flickering hearths of Nideck Point. It is Yuletide. For Reuben Golding, now infused with the Wolf Gift and under the loving tutelage of the Morphenkinder, this promises to be a Christmas like no other...
The Yuletide season, sacred to much of the human race, has been equally sacred to the Man Wolves, and Reuben soon becomes aware that they, too, steeped in their own profound rituals, will celebrate the ancient Midwinter festival deep within the verdant richness of Nideck forest.
From out of the shadows of Nideck comes a ghost - tormented, imploring, unable to speak yet able to embrace and desire with desperate affection …. As Reuben finds himself caught up with - and drawn to - the passions and yearnings of this spectral presence.
Includes the Original Song "Exiles (The Wolves of Midwinter)", Performed by Mary Fahl.
"I devoured these pages . . . As solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early Vampire Chronicles fiction." (Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe)
"A delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting, and suspense." (Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post)
©2013 Anne Rice (P)2013 Random House Audio
Rueben, the Renaissance man, reluctant werewolf, continues his paradoxical struggle with his transformation into the world of the Morphenkinder, aka Man Wolves, now surrounded by the gentlemanly old-school wolf pack. He's moved into the bequeathed Nideck mansion, is doing well with his Man Wolf lessons, has a new loup-garou love interest for his animalistic amatory side, but is haunted by the painful memory AND the spectral manifestations of his one-night stand love, the beautiful now ghostly, benefactor Marchent. Marchent is "Earth-bound" and hanging with the Forest Gentry until she works out the glitches in her ascension to the other side.
Did I mention it is the Yuletide season?!! Oh, it is -- for about 14 hours of the 16. The Man Wolves renovate the mansion and surrounding *village,* plan a Midwinter celebration feast for the local population, and string miles of colored lights. (This is the true horror of this book... stuck at Westworld-like Medieval Times and being schooled on all the minutiae of the period: roasted wild boar, mead and mincemeat, antique rag dolls, Battenburg lace, wooden puppets, and mummers...with an infinite loop of Greensleeves playing. Where's a hungry Man Wolf when you need him?) If it takes $1.5 million to maintain Downton Abbey, the Man Wolfs make the Grantham/Crawleys look like paupers; they are gazillionaires with an over-the-top penchant for decoration -- when they aren't taking care of magnanimous depradation or ritualistically frolicking naked among the ancient redwoods.
I 'd like to sit down with the spiritually diverse Ms. Rice...say maybe over a pina colada at Trader Vic's, or a big dish of beef chow mein from Lee Ho Fook's...discuss philosophy, Germanic neopaganism, her conversion from atheism. I'd sit with her for days until she got it all out of her system; I'd do it in memory of Lestat and Louis, and for all the reader/fans that yearn for the Anne Rice from the Vampire Chronicles. With that out of the way, I'd love to talk to her about what she does best -- writing gothic-fantasy-horror, creating epic characters and their complete cosmology based on universal myths and lore, how she layers her books with her knowledge of history and a keen eye for architectural and atmospheric details. Once she understood that I meant her no disrespect, I would start a conversation about the importance of an author distancing her personal obsessions from her work, and the need for professional editing to avoid a bloated theological treatise, over reliant on superfluous imagery that suffocates the plot.
There actually is a good story here, and it does set up some interesting possibilities for the concluding book, but you have to suffer for it. If you barely made it through Wolf Gift, you probably won't make this installment -- unless you are obsessed with Medieval set decorating. If determined but reluctant--skip through the decking the halls. They say horror done poorly becomes comedy...this is borderline, at times causing me mental images of a super-hero Man Wolf, sniffing out evil, and devouring the evil-doers down to "the last knuckle" before dragging himself to confession. I crawled to the finish line with hope that the final book makes the often uneasy reading task, so far, worth it.
I have read and loved practically every book that Anne Rice has written, but unfortunately found The Wolves of Midwinter, unlike The Wolf Gift, slow and even cumbersome reading most of the time. The story read like a "Werewolves' Christmas Tale".
I could and would never try to give Anne Rice advice on making her books more enjoyable--she and Stephen King are my two favorite authors--but seldom can any author, particularly one with such a large body of work, satisfy each reader thoroughly with every book. This one just happens to be one of those times.
Interesting premise clouded by too many peripheral characters. Redemption for most death for sinners. Horror made more so by catholic themes. But, if you were ever confused about the Christian winter calendar Advent, Christmastide and its 12 days afterward, and twelfth night this will clear it right up for you. The tree and festive accoutrements stay until the anniversary of Jesus's baptism. Otherwise you're just a shopper.
Was Anne Rice bored?? the first book was great this one is so repetitious and so boring. I will say that it is well written but that is all it has going for it.
S. J. Swan
A better narrator
It had been so long since the first book had come out that I didn't remember the characters
His voice didn't change with the characters and I couldn't always tell who was speaking
Four chapters in, I could literally tolerate no more of the angst and whining from Ruben. I put the speed to 3X and skipped to the last three chapters. I love Anne Rice, and will continue to listen/read her work, but wanted to warn others to be prepared for this selection!
I loved Anne Rice's vampire series years ago, so when I saw that she had written a story about werewolves, maybe my expectations were too high.
I listened to The Wolf Gift and came away disappointed, but it wasn't a horrible book. THIS WAS A HORRIBLE BOOK! No plot, no character development, very disappointing. Lots of new characters were introduced and lots of "miniplots" but mostly rambling storylines that go nowhere.
It was terribly disappointing.
Probably, but I'm not sure.
The narrator did an OK job, but had problems with female voices
not really. It was more like being given a dry toast sandwich with one slice of monterey jack cheese on it when you were starving for a new york strip.....sure you can live that way but why would you want to ....
Reuben and in some ways Phil (have always been fond of the absent minded professor types...).
performancewise... always a fan of Ron's work.... hmmm for some reason Sergei stands out... especially when the character was attempting humor
no... not this book. the wolf gift... yes without hesitation. might rent it but...
it very much struck me as this was a transititon book in a series. I agree with many of the other reviews in that finding the actual story in the story was difficult at best, and.... fuzzy when you did. so many new characters were introduced at all intervals of the story and potential impact they may have had it was distracting. then significant events seemed to pop up but with little connection to a larger theme other than... and then this happened...It also seemed the purpose was somewhat of a verbal internal debate of the nature of philosophical perspectives but not to a cohesive or satisfactorily answered or explored depth. If through action and plot the ideas can be expressed then there is a draw. Show me art don't tell me about it.not sure if I will pick up the third book (assuming there is to be one). I desperately hope there is because I was sooooo looking forward to an exploration of the lycanthrope franchise done well and all the potential that has always been there ( as opposed to everyone is a vampire and they suck....). Wolves are creatures of action and passion and drives. While there seems to be that in the wolves of midwinter, they came off more like (deep apologies for the use of the term and the connotations it has been derogatorily used for) "pussies." there were points I wanted to slap the .... out of Felix....
The narrator was horrible. He sounds as if he has talking with a mouth full of marbles. I can't get by his irritating mumbling to enjoy the story.
Too much religion tied in. Each new book gets worse!
Not to purchase any more Ann Rice audiobooks!
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