Werwolves in fantasy literature

The werewolf (a human with the ability to shape shift into a wolf) first appeared in Ancient Greek literature and mythology, notably in the works of Petronius and Herodotus. In Roman times Ovid, Virgil and Pliny the Elder wrote of human beings transforming into wolves. Famous fantasy literature involving the lycanthrope include Rachel Hawthorne's Dark Guardian novels, JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels and the works of Charles de Lint, Terry Pratchett, Fritz Leiber and Poul Anderson.

Recommended Reading

Fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan is as fascinated by bones and dead bodies as her famous aunt, acclaimed forensic anthropologist, Tempe Brennan. However living on a secluded island off Charleston in South Carolina there is not much opportunity to put her knowledge to the test. Until her and her ragbag group of technophile friends stumble across a ...

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
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The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues - though the authorities aren't sure if it's a man they should be looking for. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family - their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel - where some suspect that biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he's a werewolf. Or perhaps it's Roman, the son of the late J. R. Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly, sexy control freak of a mother, Olivia. As the crime goes unsolved and the police seem more and more willing to believe any outlandish rumour, Peter and Roman decide the only way to save their own skins is to find the killer themselves. Along the way they uncover local secrets and designs that are much bigger than some small-town murder.

"This is for those who want their horror laced with sex, violence and things better left unexplained." Cat Fitzpatrick, Fantasy Book Review

When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
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A small, quiet Midwestern town, unremarkable save for one fact: when the local teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild. When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she is surprised that she became a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her home town. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: as a teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident breaches during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path. For as long as she can, Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harbouring secrets of their own.

"The writing is beautiful: poetic and vivid and this includes the dialogue. This is a book you just need to sit down and read, allow the words to wash over you and experience Lumen’s extraordinarily eventful life. It will stay with you long after the last page is finished."

Wereworld by Curtis Jobling
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YOU'RE THE LAST OF THE WEREWOLVES SON. DON'T FIGHT IT ... CONQUER IT

When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a vicious beast invades his home, his flesh tears, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms... Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan's men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy. Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him - and master the animal within?

"Jobling really pushes the horror elements of the series; we have necromancy, zombies, monstrous rats, and ghosts. All of it feels real, a part of the world. We also get to meet new types of Werelords which is always exciting. Jobling writes in a way that leaves it easy to imagine the events as they unfold and the world building is consistently strong. If there were any real faults with this book I was having too much fun to make note of them. As I understand it this is the second of four planned novels; I can’t wait to see what happens next." Fantasy Book Review

The Wolf's Hour by Robert McCammon
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On the eve of D-Day, a British secret agent with unique powers goes behind Nazi lines...

Michael Gallatin is a British spy with a peculiar talent: the ability to transform himself into a wolf. Although his work in North Africa helped the Allies win the continent in the early days of World War II, he quit the service when a German spy shot his lover in her bed. Now, three years later, the army asks him to end his retirement and parachute into occupied Paris. A mysterious German plan called the Iron Fist threatens the D-Day invasion, and the Nazi in charge is the spy who betrayed Michael’s lover. The werewolf goes to France for king and country, hoping for a chance at bloody vengeance.

"This novel kept me hooked throughout and it works on both levels as a wartime thriller and horror story. McCammon has the same prose style as James Bond creator Ian Fleming so everything is given a vivid immediacy. It so easily could have entered the realms of farce but McCammon’s execution and literary skill ensures that this is a first rate thriller with a nicely handled twist. I highly recommend adding this original thrill-fest to your Kindle collection." Fantasy Book Review

Young Werewolf by Cornelia Funke
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Matt is returning home from the cinema when a yellow-eyed monster bites his hand and his whole world - and body - changes. Helped by his best friend Lisa and teacher Mrs Ruskin, they have just two days to find a cure before the curse takes hold forever!

"This story reminded me of the old werewolf movies starring Lon Chaney Jnr. and the references to the fate of those who are scratched or bitten by a werewolf - that they too become one when the moon is full. Illustrated by David Roberts, this is a gripping story of a boy who slowly turns into a werewolf and can't live as ordinary a life as he would like. I enjoyed reading about the changes to his body, and also the emotional problems he faced as a young wolf. Fans of Cornelia Funke's other novel Inkheart will instantly warm to her take on a classic movie monster we have all come to know and love." Sandra Scholes, Fantasy Book Review

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
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One last full moon – then it will all be over. Jacob Marlowe has lost the will to live. For two hundred years he has wandered the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites and tormented by the memory of his first and most monstrous crime. Now, the last of his kind, he knows he cannot go on. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him straight back into the desperate pursuit of life – and love.

"What The Last Werewolf did really well was engage me from the very first page, something which is of course very important. The opening pages reminded me very strongly of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, what with the pea-soup fog outside and two men within conversing in a way I found not to be too dissimilar from that of the Holmes and Watson dialogue I've always loved. Everything soon changes of course, and rather quickly too, but the introduction of Jake Marlowe, his long-time confidante Harley, and London itself, resulted in the book having me immediately and firmly within in its grip." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
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'I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil ...' Mercedes Thompson runs a garage in the Tri-Cities. She's a mechanic, and a damn good one, who spends her spare time karate training and tinkering with a VW bus that happens to belong to a vampire. Her next-door neighbour is an alpha werewolf - literally, the leader of the pack. And Mercy herself is a shapeshifter, sister to coyotes. As such, she's tolerated by the 'wolves but definitely down the pecking order. As long as she keeps her eyes down and remembers her place, the pack will leave her in peace. Hardly a normal situation, but then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself...and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

"Moon Called is such a fun and fast introduction to the life of Mercy Thompson.  A full time auto mechanic and part time coyote the reader chases Mercy throughout the book at lightening speed.  Never is there a dull moment as you learn about pack structure, why the fae came out publicly proclaiming their existence, or Mercy herself.  Patricia Briggs is brilliant in this book as she delves into a section of fantasy – the werewolf and its culture – that hasn’t been as widely explored. Kudos to Patricia Briggs for bringing werewolves into a new light, for offering up a believable and relatable female author, and for an over all quite interesting story that had me guessing till the very end. Bravo." Fantasy Book Review

13 to Life by Shannon Delany
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Jessica's life was difficult enough since the sudden loss of her mother, but meeting Pietr Rusakova turns her world completely upside down. The newest member of Junction High, Pietr is a first generation Russian-American, a fact that by itself gets him lots of attention in the small town. But Pietr has far more going for him than good looks and an interesting accent. Pietr has secrets to hide - like the fact that he's a werewolf! These secrets lead Jessica into an exciting and dangerous world where her understanding of reality and what makes someone a man or a monster are challenged.

"Russian werewolves, trust and mean girls seem to be the main thrust of this book. I loved it. I loved the main character... Jessica. She was brave and fierce in her friendships and loyalties to friends who really did not deserve her goodness." Patty, Fantasy Book Review

The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins
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Cora Ogelsby and her husband, Ben, hunt things - things that shouldn't exist. When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious, bloody deaths out in the badlands, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible. But if she is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, Cora must first confront her own tragic past.

"The Dead of Winter nails the supernatural part and produces an unique story. With the vivid descriptions and the town and the monsters you get to meet allows a nice visualization. Using both common and uncommon monsters frequented in the supernatural gave again more to The Dead of Winter. And with Cora being a great main protagonist this is definitely a series for me to watch." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review

Changeling: Blood Wolf by Steve Feasey
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The Mission: They’ve broken the evil vampire Caliban’s power base. They thought that it was all over. That’s where they were wrong... Changeling: Blood Wolf is the third in the series and continues to develop the story of Trey Laporte- the last hereditary werewolf. Set in a teenage world where the fifteen year old had come of age and discovered the beast that dwells within.

"Graphic descriptions are abound, this is after all a horror story so blood and sinews abound: teeth, claws and fangs all tearing into soft flesh, what more could a young adult reader ask for? If I were to pick a favourite part it would be Steve Feasey’s revelation of what a gym really looks like beneath the facade of the whitewash and sweat. If you want to know what that is all about you will have to buy the book and find out, money well spent in my opinion." Mathew Bridle, Fantasy Book Review

Breed by Chase Novak
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Alex and Leslie Twisden told each other they would do anything to have children. The price didn't matter. But the experimental procedure they found had costs they couldn't foresee. Adam and Alice Twisden’s lives seem perfectly normal. Except that, every night, without fail, their parents lock them into their rooms. And the twins know that the sounds they can hear are not just their imagination. They’re real. And they’re getting louder...

"Breed is a unique story that fits well onto the supernatural thriller shelf. Using a new background for the introduction of why Alex and Leslie became what they were, it was good to read that it was not yet another science experiment gone wrong. A nice thing in the end was how Leslie actually tries to get back together with her children but what Dr. Kis has said previously turn out to be just empty words... Breed is gripping, fast-paced thriller that will only allow you to take a breath after you have finished it." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review

Albrim’s Curse by Trevis Powell
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All young Albrim wanted to be was a master bowman like his father. Then a savage attack on his home cost him his family, his arm, and his humanity - all at once! Crippled and contaminated by the Curse, his beloved Gran leaves him in the care of Mute, a giant warrior dedicated to protecting humanity from the depredations of the Quarg. Albrim does what he can to assist his master and redeem himself. But can a werewolf ever really recapture his humanity?

"It has to be said the setting of the story is perfect, the characters well defined and the time period well researched by the author. The reader will hardly be able to contain themselves when waiting for the next volume." Sandra Scholes, Fantasy Book Review

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia
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Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves. Business is good... Welcome to Monster Hunter International.

"This was enjoyable book, which came as a surprise. The shape and flow of the story is well defined and you easily breeze through the pages with glee. I do hope the gun love is toned down for the next book, but I doubt it."

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