This is the second foray into the world of werewolves for Ms Rice, and it is a far superior offering to her first.
Still acclimatising to the wonderful new world of his own powers and those of his immortal colleagues, forever 25-year-old Reuben Golding knows contentment as never before. The only thoughts that darken his days are those of the secrets he must keep from his family and their inevitable parting as his never-ageing nature becomes too obvious to hide from those he loves. In addition the house he has inherited, Nideck Point, is being haunted by the spectre of its previous owner. Her inability to communicate what is troubling her to Reuben, and his mentor Felix’s preparations for a massive mid-winter celebration incorporating the entire town, consume the first two thirds of the book.
Somewhat lacking in plot until close to the end of the story, The Wolves of Midwinter nevertheless manages to hold the reader’s interest purely through the richness of the setting and its intriguing characters, who, due to sheer numbers, are each never quite present for long enough to quench the reader’s curiosity about them, a strategy which ensures a mild level of tension throughout. The author was also clever or in touch with her readers enough to recognise that some of her more popular works incorporated more than one type of supernatural creature, and has done so with a reasonable degree of success in this follow up to 2012’s The Wolf Gift. One needn’t have read this first book in the series to follow the second, as reasonable amount of exposition about for the uninitiated.
With more conversation than gore, Anne Rice presents to us yet another group of impossibly articulate, worldy and mannered immortals that nevertheless enjoy the taste of human flesh and blood as much as they enjoy their baroque furnishings. Some of the human characters particularly resonated with me, such as Reuben’s quitely intelligent father Phil and his haunted brother Jim. I look forward to future novels in the series as Ms Rice finds her feet with these new (to her) beings and their various idiosyncrasies.