David Holland

Books: Fantasy

Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale (2000)

Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale (2000)

Murcheston The Wolfs TaleThe story told in Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale is of a werewolf, told years after the fact by one who had been his companion. In it, we are privy to the journal of a man who has become a werewolf, and watch in fascination as the transformation changes him--both into a creature and as a human.

The story itself is a good one. We see the changes in Darnley's thought processes over time, and see the inevitable destination those thoughts will take him. The setting is also extremely well done, as in 19th century Britain eccentricity in the nobility was something that wealth and power could easily hide.

I did, however, have two problems, both of which threw me out of the story completely. First, I realize that the process of become a werewolf is a magical one, which might account for many of his abilities. But I had a hard time accepting that within a few hours of his first turning, he could sense from scent not only what animal had passed, but how long ago it had passed. Please. I agree that some things are instinctual, but many more are learned behaviors, and I just cannot accept that such an ability would be instinctual. In fact I found that passage so jarring that I had to stop reading the book and see if I could come up with any way such abilities could be instinctual. I couldn't, and I can only accept so much from magic.

So bah.

The second thing that bothered be was the language. The handful of instances of the use of "fuck" and "shit" came from seemingly out of nowhere, and were quite jarring, especially in the context of a journal where the writer used initials to refer to specific individuals. Even if he would have used those words in speech or thought, I simply have a hard time believing that they would have been placed on paper, especially considering the tone of the rest of the writing. (Nevermind the fact that the use of initials was inconsistent.)

Although it was a very interesting story that went in directions I was not expecting, I somehow found the whole book overall to be a bit frustrating. If you're looking for a different kind of story, then you may enjoy Murcheston: The Wolf's Tale, if you're willing to overlook its flaws. I, however, am placing it on the pile to be taken to the used bookstore, and am glad that I only paid fifty cents for it.

Rating: 5/10