AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon
Welcome to Day 10 of AWESOME-tober-fest. We are in the middle of werewolf book week. Yesterday I looked at Howling Mad by Peter David. Today, I will review The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon.
This is an interesting novel. I originally read it back in high school. My dad used to take my brother and I to the “big” library in downtown Birmingham at least once a month for a special treat. It offered a wider choice of books than our local library. I’d pick out a bunch of books about comic books or werewolves or gunfighters and we could return them at any of our local libraries (or back to the original downtown location if we went back in time). It was pretty awesome. During one of my trips I was looking for werewolf fiction and stumbled across this book. It seemed a little long for me at the time at nearly 500 pages, plus it took place during World War II, which doesn’t interest me very much, but the lure of a new werewolf novel was too much to resist. So I checked it out.
The story is definitely interesting. It combines two very different genres; the World War II spy adventure and the werewolf adventure. The main character, Michael Gallatin, was born into a wealthy Russian family. At an early age Michael was changed and then taken in by a pack of werewolves. He was taught by the pack how to live as a man and a wolf and properly use his newly discovered supernatural abilities. After years of learning and maturing with the pack of werewolves, Michael leaves them to see the world and create a life of his own. He offers his “skills” to the Allies during World War II and becomes a secret weapon in the fight against Hitler and his Third Reich. Michael goes on several missions and uncovers a secret conspiracy called Iron Fist that threatens to derail the Allies’ invasion of Europe and turn the tides of the war in favor of the Axis powers.
The book is definitely good, but a little long. This is not unusual for McCammon who writes long books. Most are 500+ pages. This is not to say he’s wordy or boring, but his books are long. The adventure is swift in this book and fun. I was in high school when I read this and I was able to finish it with no problem. One of the only slow parts of the book involves Michael’s time with the wolf pack. Those scenes tend to slow down the book, but overall, they aren’t too lengthy and the spy adventure takes up most of the book. I would recommend this as an action novel and as a werewolf novel. It’s good, somewhat cheesy in parts. McCammon does throw in some romance elements that are a little eye-rolling, but they didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel as a whole.
Now, even though I enjoyed this book, I have not read another McCammon novel since. I was perusing his books online the other day and he does have some interesting titles. It seemed like he had retired for a while but he came out with a new series of novels in 2002 called the Matthew Corbett series. The first book is named Speaks the Nightbird. Matthew Corbett is an assistant magistrate in 1699 America. He travels to Carolina with his mentor to a small village claiming that a witch has cursed the entire town. The villagers have even accused a foreign woman in the village of being said witch. Matthew and his partner must uncover the truth of the strange happenings in the village and also hold a witch trial to determine if the beautiful woman is, in fact, a witch.
It’s not a werewolf story, but it does seem spooky and Halloween-y. In typical McCammon fashion, this first book in the series is 800 pages long (come ON, McCammon). However, the publisher released an edition that is split into two parts; Volume I and Volume II which are only 400 pages each. This story sounds interesting so I ordered Speaks the Nightbird Volume I off Paperbackswap the other week. Since it’s Halloween and I want good spooky books to read, I’ll be reading it in the next week or two (along with Koontz’s Odd Thomas).
The other books in this series (The Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter) also sound good especially the last one, Mister Slaughter. Check out the rest of Mr McCammon’s books here.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.