Learned about this author from a column in Asimov’s — Jack Williamson. Came highly recommended, as a sci fi author who writes with seminal ideas (can’t remember who was the person who recommended him… Silverberg?)

So I looked for books by Jack Williamson and randomly chose this one:
ISBN: 0312869924

Quite a good book.

It has a certain style of writing that I can only describe as… “old school”.

Not that its boring (far from it) just that there’s a certain flavour to the type of writing that we don’t seem to get from authors of different generation. Like the writing is more deliberate and more intimate (like how the “Twilight Zone” trailers is just so different from today’s brand of TV series, even if it’s about the strange and fantastic).

Not surprising, as I later found that the novel was first published in 1948.

The book I read has a foreword by Douglas E. Winter, and he pointed to the theme that Williamson explores in this novel: “Why, gentlemen, is evil?”

Like, “Why does evil exist at all?”

OK, here’s a plot giveaway:

The book is ultimately about the werewolf and its associated myths (though the novel is smarter than that; it doesn’t give this away until the mystery has been built up — I said this was a plot giveaway, didn’t I?)

You learn there’s a buried treasure that threatens to destroy werewolves. The way the werewolves are portrayed makes them to be some race of superbeings rather than monsters. The story’s protagonist, Will Barbee, ends up investigating the death of his one time mentor, Mondrick.

A mysterious lady, April Bell, appears and turns out she’s a werewolf too. Basically Barbee transforms into one also. Then there’s something about the Child of Night, whom the good guys want to slay and the baddies want to protect.

In the end, the winners are…

OK, I really have to stop here. Cos it’s a nice story with a believable plot and I think it deserves to be explored and read.

Even if I’ve given you some of the plot away, I don’t think you’ll enjoy it any less.

It’s beauty, I think, is in the way it’s written. A subtle difference in writing style (as I said, I can best describe it as “old school”).

The pace is pretty steady, although there were some pages that I skimmed.

The novel has been described as Science Fiction but you can say it’s Fantasy too. Reading the story, inspite of knowing it’s a work of fiction, there’s enough modern references and explanations (and Williamson has such an authoritative way of writing, it seems to me) that made me think “maybe all this could be true”.

Good stuff.

I’d give it a 3.8 out of 5.

Aww heck… 4 out of 5!