First in a series. Historical fiction mingled with fantasy in this tale of a young wolf-woman named Regeane set in during the decline of the Roman empire. Borchardt has her sister's (Anne Rice) flair for invoking horror without the excessive wordiness that makes some of Rice's books a slog-fest, at least for me. The book also had bits of explicit sex in it, but the scenes were fairly well done and not just gratuitous groping so I didn't roll my eyes excessively or anything. LOL
Her historical detail was also decidedly un-romanticized and very realistic sounding, quite violent and descriptive, and that in and of itself often evoked enough 'horror' without even mentioning the wolf sharing a body with a human woman! Compelling and interesting read, and I will definitely be seeking the other two books in this trilogy.
Regeane has grown up with an abusive family. They treat her with abuse and disdain - even fear - because she is a werewolf. They try to control Regeane because she is distantly related to Charlemange, and her family hopes to benefit from this. They get their chance when a marrige is finally arranged, but Regeane is afraid for her life if anyone discovers her ability to turn into a wolf
The story is well written and very descriptive. There are a couple of sex scenes, including a woman/woman coupling. However I found them to be rather tasteful in their depiction, and not overly graphic.
In my opinion, Alice Borchardt is a better writer than her sister, Anne Rice. Anne is great most of the time, but Alice is great all of the time. This series was ahead of its time; now that vampires and dark romatic fantasy are all the rage, it fits right in with the best of them.
I was pleasantly suprised when I read this book. The story keeps your attention throughout. It's a refreshing change to the unrealistic Anita Blake and other fantasy series with strong sexual themes.
This is the first in the trilogy. But I just could not get into this series. It seems crazy to say, but there was just too much detail, too much history that got in the way of the actual story. I wanted to read the story, not a history of the roman empire!