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Howling for more

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Mar 2, 2009: "Winter Rain" is a well-constructed thrill-ride. Written in the rarely-used, often ill-used, present tense, the writer (Chris Poirer) makes it work: because it puts you into the action, following the dynamic and aggressive life of a young werewolf.

It suits the instinctual nature of these wolves, who run as much on animal cunning as they do on human intelligence. That’s the brilliance of the story, the way instinct shapes the actions of the characters, from beginning to end. Struggles for dominance, the use of force for power, the lowly currying the favour of the head of the pack . . . It all fits together.

The protagonist, Tiergan, is at the bottom of his pack, as a younger wolf, and a little on the small side. Yet he shows a lot of intelligence, and starts working his way up. At the same time, he resists his instinctive urges, wanting to avoid violence despite his inbred anger, and fearing becoming just like his older brother, Faolan. The leader of the pack, with violent mood swings and the strength to enforce his will. The complexity of Tiergan’s character runs all through the narrative, really giving readers a sense of knowing their narrator.

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