Since young blacksmith Joran sent his wife away, he has been haunted by desperate dreams in which she is trapped in a hut above the Sea by the Moon. Joran’s anger burns strong against Charris, and at first he doesn’t want to respond to the summoning. But as his nightmares begin to consume him, he has no choice. Rescue Charris (though she doesn’t deserve it) or go mad. Perhaps he’s already there.
Joran sets out, following the mad goose woman’s instructions: “Go to the house of the Moon. She is there, with your wife. You saw her. She may help you, if she feels like it. Or maybe not. Tricky and deceitful, she isâ€¦It is very far, little cub, far beyond imagining. Your dreams will point the way north, but it is beyond the ends of the known world, and the traveling perilous. You will wear out three pairs of shoes before your journey ends. Yes, you will.”
As Joran leaves the village of Tebron, he discovers that the wolf who has often watched him is caught in a trap. Joran releases the wolf, who mindspeaks him, telling Joran his name is Ruyah and will be his companion. Joran doesn’t want the wolf’s company, but doesn’t seem to have a choice.
The Wolf of Tebron follows Joran and Ruyah north to the house of the Moon, east to the house of the Sun, south to the cave of the South Wind, and eventually west to the Sea, where he fights the final battle to free Charris and learns the truth of what happened the day he sent her away in the first place. He also learns some fantastic truths about himself.
While I didn’t find the novel completely riveting, I did enjoy it. Parts of it seemed brilliant, making up for some of the long days of walking Joran and Ruyah do with little else going on. Here’s a snippet I enjoyed from the first section of the book:
[Joran speaks.] “Tell me about the Moon. Is she able toâ€¦solve riddles?”
“Dear sweetums, that would be folly–the Moon will just load you up with more riddles. How can I describe Lunella? She isn’t very bright.” Cielle covered her mouth and snorted again. “Well, of course, she is very bright, but I meant she is not bright, short a few candle marks, if you get my drift. And absentminded as well. Causes a lot of trouble that way.”
Cielle tipped her cup and drained the dregs into her throat. “The Moon is fickle–starts one thing, gets distracted. If I wasn’t here to help clean and cook, she would waste away. Oh, and she does! Every month she goes out carousing and forgets to eat. She starts all fat and round and by the time she drags her sorry body into this house, she is just a sliver of herself.”
The Wolf of Tebron is C. S. Lakin’s first fairy tale, part of a proposed seven-part series called The Gates of Heaven, which all take place in the same world of Sherbourne. Book two is due to release in March. So what makes this a fairy tale? Author Lakin quotes G. K. Chesterton:
The note of the fairy utterance always is, â€˜You may live in a palace of gold, if you do not say the word cow.â€™ Or â€˜You may live happily ever after with the Kingâ€™s daughter, if you do not show her an onion.â€™ The vision always hangs upon a veto. All the dizzy and colossal things conceded depend upon one small thing withheld. All the wild and whirling things that are let loose depend upon ONE thing that is forbiddenâ€¦.In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. A box is opened and all evils fly out. A word is forgotten and cities perish. A lamp is lit and love flies awayâ€¦and . . .â€ (This is the kicker!) â€œâ€¦An apple is eaten and the hope of God is gone.â€
C. S. Lakin lives in the otherworldly kingdom of California, in a forest that resembles Tebron. In addition to fairy tales, she also forays into the real world with her psychological mysteries. When she is not writing, she works professionally as a book copy editor and writing coach. Whenever possible, she disappears for days atop mountain peaks or explores the ocean sixty feet below the surface. The rest of her life is spent between sea and sky waiting for a city not made by human hands.
This novel was provided for me free of charge from the publisher for the CSFF Blog Tour, but the opinions are mine alone. If you’re interested in reading the opinions of other tourists, check out some of the posts from the following links: Noah Arsenault, Amy Bissell, Red Bissell, Justin Boyer, Keanan Brand, Grace Bridges, Beckie Burnham, Jeff Chapman, Christian Fiction Book Reviews, Carol Bruce Collett , CSFF Blog Tour, D. G. D. Davidson, April Erwin, Andrea Graham, Nikole Hahn, Katie Hart, Ryan Heart, Bruce Hennigan, Becky Jesse, Cris Jesse, Becca Johnson, Jason Joyner, Julie, Carol Keen, Dawn King, Shannon McDermott, Matt Mikalatos, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Joan Nienhuis, Nissa, John W. Otte, Chawna Schroeder, Tammy Shelnut, Kathleen Smith, James Somers, Rachel Starr Thomson, Robert Treskillard, Fred Warren, Phyllis Wheeler