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M.D. Lachlan
Gollancz, 439 pages

M.D. Lachlan
M.D. Lachlan is the pen name for the fantasy work of author and journalist Mark Barrowcliffe who is the British author of Girlfriend 44 and Infidelity for First-Time Fathers. He lives in Brighton, England with his dog.

M.D. Lachlan Website
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SF Site Review: Wolfsangel

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

M.D. Lachlan has written contemporary fiction under his real name, Mark Barrowcliffe, but Wolfsangel, the first book in the Craw Trilogy, is his first foray into fantasy, and it's a winner. But Lachlan has written an extremely complex book, so I'll do my best to simplify, but you may just have to read it, and fans of epic fantasy and those who favor historical works in particular, will want to anyway.

King Authun, son of the god Odin, has only daughters, so with the help of the witches who live on the troll wall, he finds a way to give himself an heir. He travels to a Saxon village to steal a baby, who in turn, was stolen from the gods. To his consternation, he finds twins instead of one child and takes both and their mother back with him, assuming the witches will know which should become his heir. King Authun leaves no witnesses to his crimes.

Vali grows up as a prince in a neighboring kingdom, more interested in stories and a local farm girl named Adisla than honing his skills with weapons. Feileg, his unknown twin, grows up first with berserks and then with wolves, a fairly wild creature of the land. The two inevitably meet and pursue a quest together. And, about that quest, I will say no more except that there is adventure aplenty, but battle scenes by no means keep the story moving forward.

Lachlan has written a masterful story that interweaves Norse mythology, magic and adventure. In essence, and any mistakes are mine, Fenrir, the wolf, is the son of Loki who killed the god Odin, then Odin's son killed Loki to avenge his father's death. It's implied that this scenario is in a karmic loop, set to repeat itself time and time again through the ages. The magic in this story doesn't resemble the magic usually found in fantasy tales. Rather than casting spells, this magic involves runes, dream/mind melding and nearly drowning oneself or other torments to divine the future.

Lachlan has an incredible knack for storytelling but also an innate sense for balancing the action, mythology, magic and the characters in this complex and well-written yarn. At its heart, Wolfsangel is an adventure story, albeit one with far more literary value than the average. Lachlan's characters have the depth to stand up to the intricate storytelling and multi-layered plot. I must warn also that this book is no light read: in fact, it's dark and strange and sometimes a bit disturbing. All of that said, Wolfsangel is one of the best books I've read so far this year, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Copyright © 2011 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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