The Wolf Gift (Wolf Gift Chronicles Series #1)

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A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable”—The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”—San Francisco Chronicle), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable”—Associated Press). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech—and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice, teller of ...

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The Wolf Gift (Wolf Gift Chronicles Series #1)

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A daring new departure from the inspired creator of The Vampire Chronicles (“unrelentingly erotic . . . unforgettable”—The Washington Post), Lives of the Mayfair Witches (“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature”—San Francisco Chronicle), and the angels of The Songs of the Seraphim (“remarkable”—Associated Press). A whole new world—modern, sleek, high-tech—and at its center, a story as old and compelling as history: the making of a werewolf, reimagined and reinvented as only Anne Rice, teller of mesmerizing tales, conjurer extraordinaire of other realms, could create.
The time is the present.
The place, the rugged coast of Northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.
A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer . . . An older woman welcoming him into her magnificent family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . An idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence, the young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation, as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing what he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.
As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf” by authorities, the media, and scientists (evidence of DNA threatens to reveal his dual existence) . . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there may be others like him who are watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time who possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge. And throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Invited to a remote seaside mansion by its erotic owner, Reuben Golding finds himself unable to resist her amorous advances. Their libidinous night ends abruptly when the young reporter and his host are ravaged and bitten by an unseen creature. She dies, but he survives, badly hurt and deeply guilty. The attack marks only the beginning of a transformation that changes him in almost unimaginable ways. But who or what gave Reuben this "wolf gift"—and is it really a gift or a curse? Anne Rice's novel, now in paperback and NOOK Book, opens the door to a menacing dark room that is guaranteed to heighten your senses.

Publishers Weekly
Rice (Interview with a Vampire) begins a new series with this exciting tale of a contemporary werewolf. Reuben Golding, in his first serious job as a reporter for the San Francisco Observer, is sent to interview Marchent Nideck, an older woman trying to sell a massive timeworn family house in California's redwood forest. Reuben is captivated by the rugged setting, the house and its secrets, and the many treasures left behind by Marchent's Uncle Felix, who mysteriously disappeared 20 years prior. While staying at the house, Reuben is awakened during the night by sounds of an attack. Rushing to help Marchent, he is shocked when a hairy beast kills the intruders but stops its assault on Reuben after biting his face. Reuben learns that Marchent is dead when he awakens in a San Francisco hospital, and his guilt at his inability to save her becomes mixed with astonishment when he learns that she had willed her house to him. He begins to register strange physical changes during his recovery, and soon Reuben transforms fully into a werewolf when he senses that someone nearby is being victimized, swiftly coming to their aid. Each heroic rescue (and concomitant violent killing of the perpetrators) sets off a media frenzy, impelling Reuben to retreat into the isolation of his new home. Rice's classic concerns regarding good and evil and shifting views of reality play out wonderfully in what will surely please fans and newcomers alike. 200,000 announced first printing. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
The Wolf Gift is vintage Anne Rice—a lushly written, gothic…metaphysical tale. This time, with werewolves.”
—Alexandra Alter, The Wall Street Journal
“Anne Rice has done it again.  In her latest novel, The Wolf Gift, the woman who single-handedly, reinvented the vampire genre puts her formidable talent to work rewriting ‘were-wolf’ lore and in the end succeeds magnificently.”
—Nola Cancel, Examiner
“[Rice] returns to the lushly evocative scenery and gothic atmosphere of her vampire novels with great success. . . her reimagining of a well-worn mythology is fresh and intriguing. Fans of Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and The Lives of the Mayfair Witches series should delight in this new saga delivered in the author’s distinctive style. Part creation story, part love story, all excellent!”
—Bette Lee Fox, Library Journal (starred)
“I want to howl at the moon over this…I devoured these pages…[A] terrific new novel. . . . The plot [is] magnetic, the characters fascinating, and Rice’s style as solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction.”
—Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe
“Rice weaves her trademark meditations on the role of supernatural creatures in society into an often thrilling, page-turning yarn”
—Kristine Huntley, Booklist
“[A]n energetic gambol, feisty and terrific fun. . . . [A] fast-paced, heady romp that ranks with her best. . . . Wolf Gift is irresistible.”
—Joy Tipping, The Dallas Morning News

“[I]n Rice’s hands, The Wolf Gift evolves from a fantastical romp into an engrossing thriller. . . .”
—Liz Colville, San Francisco Chronicle

“Anne Rice combines a vast literary gift with a shameless love of sex, beauty and pop culture. Her artistic vision is part Bela Lugosi, part Andy Warhol, part Christina the Astonishing, the medieval holy woman who could famously “smell sin.”…The Wolf Gift will leave open-minded readers howling for more.”
—Aidan Johnson, The Globe and Mail

“[E]xciting tale of a contemporary werewolf. . . . Rice’s classic concerns regarding good and evil and shifting views of reality play out wonderfully in what will surely please fans and newcomers alike.”
Publishers Weekly

“[O]ne part ‘Beauty and the Beast’ love story, one part meditation on morality and immortality, and one part superman tale. . . . Told in the memorable style that won Rice’s vampire series so many readers, The Wolf Gift is an intriguing new take on the classic werewolf legend…Rice deepens and gives nuance to classic werewolf lore.”
—Diana Pinckley, New Orleans Times-Picayune

“Rice has never shied away from tackling Big Issues…The Wolf Gift marks a return to form while still giving a nod to spiritual matters…[A] delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting and suspense.”
-Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post

“Anne Rice is back”
—Tirdad Derakhshani, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[W]ritten with compelling modernity…The Wolf Gift is a strong—and welcome—return to the monster mythology that made Anne Rice famous.”
—Rob LeFebvre, Shelf Awareness

“With both thrilling acts of horror and a final act that is deeply based in the mythology of the Wolf Gift and its history —- and bordering on lycanthropic existentialism —- this novel opens readers up to a world they only thought they knew…The characters come alive, and the strange history of the Nideck family will jump off the page and enter the readers’ nightmares as Rice has found a new gothic saga to sink her teeth into.”
—Ray Palen,

Library Journal
She's done vampires and witches and angels, so why not werewolves? Rice's latest, a modern retelling of the werewolf legend just announced for February 2012, is both a return and a departure. A return, because after spending a couple of books dancing with angels as she explored elevated spiritual issues in her new "Songs of the Seraphim" series, Rice is back with the bad guys. And a departure, because she hasn't visited this part of the horror pantheon before.The setting is the northern coast of California, and the main player is a younger reporter from the San Francisco Observer who has come to interview an older woman desperate to sell the family mansion deep in redwood forest. Alas, a nasty bite in the night means that our hero will soon be running from authorities who have targeted him as the Man Wolf. But as the very title suggests, Rice doesn't go just gory; that bite delivers a "gift" that pulls the Man Wolf toward goodness as well as temptation and opens him to the possibility that he is now one of the watching-guardian creatures that have existed since ancient times.Okay, so maybe not such a big return from heaven to horror, but this book has stirred enthusiasm from longtime Rice fans, who can anticipate a dark and gripping mood as well more philosophical reflections. One wonders how Rice's audience will take to these shifting currents and where the currents will take Rice next. With a 100,000-copy first printing; BOMC main selection.
Kirkus Reviews
The "gift" of the title refers to a werewolf who acts more like Batman than like a bestial agent of disorder, for he goes about rescuing damsels (and guys) in distress and in the process killing the bad guys. Reuben Golding has everything going for him--good looks, a monied family, a girlfriend and a job as a reporter for the San Francisco Observer. He's sent to do a story on a mysterious house north of the city, and there he meets the equally mysterious Marchent Nideck, an elegant older woman who hopes to sell the house now that her great-uncle Felix Nideck has (after a 20-year disappearance) finally been declared officially dead. Touring the house with Marchent, Reuben becomes equally enamored with both architecture and hostess. Shortly after an eruption of spontaneous lovemaking, Marchent is attacked and killed, and Reuben, also attacked, finds himself badly injured. It seems Reuben's attackers were themselves set upon by a beast who bit Reuben and left him a "Chrism"--the power to transform to lupine status and concomitant power to sniff out evil (literally) and snuff out evil-doers. In the hour's interlude between lovemaking and attack, Marchent has conveniently contacted her lawyers and willed the Nideck estate to Reuben. The house is filled with Gothic bric-a-brac like old manuscripts and cuneiform tablets that suggest a connection to the supposedly (but not actually?) dead Felix. In his wolfish form Reuben falls in love with the recently widowed Laura, and, mystified by what's happening, he seeks the advice of his sage brother Jim, a Roman Catholic priest. One of the mysteries is that it doesn't take a full moon to effect Reuben's transformation.

Despite some of the creakiness of the machinery, Rice finds new permutations in an old tale.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307595119
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Series: Wolf Gift Chronicles Series, #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 123,360
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Rice

Anne Rice is the author of thirty-one books. She lives in Palm Desert, California.

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    1. Also Known As:
      A. N. Roquelaure, Anne Rampling
    2. Hometown:
      Palm Desert, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 4, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Orleans, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.A., San Francisco State University, 1964; M.A., 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Reuben was a tall man, well over six feet, with brown curly hair and deep-­set blue eyes. “Sunshine Boy” was his nickname and he hated it; so he tended to repress what the world called an irresistible smile. But he was a little too happy right now to put on his studious expression, and try to look older than his twenty-­three years.

He was walking up a steep hill in the fierce ocean wind with an exotic and elegant older woman named Marchent Nideck and he really loved all she was saying about the big house on the cliff. She was lean with a narrow beautifully sculpted face, and that kind of yellow hair that never fades. She wore it straight back from her forehead in a soft wavy swinging bob that curled under just above her shoulders. He loved the picture she made in her long brown knit dress and high polished brown boots.

He was doing a story for the San Francisco Observer on the giant house and her hopes of selling it now that the estate had at last been settled, and her great-­uncle Felix Nideck had been declared officially dead. The man had been gone for twenty years, but his will had only just been opened, and the house had been left to Marchent, his niece.

They’d been walking the forested slopes of the property since Reuben arrived, visiting a ramshackle old guesthouse and the ruin of a barn. They’d followed old roads and old paths lost in the brush, and now and then come out on a rocky ledge above the cold iron-­colored Pacific, only to duck back quickly into the sheltered and damp world of gnarled oak and bracken.

Reuben wasn’t dressed for this, really. He’d driven north in his usual “uniform” of worsted-­wool blue blazer over a thin cashmere sweater, and gray slacks. But at least he had a scarf for his neck that he’d pulled from the glove compartment. And he really didn’t mind the biting cold.

The huge old house was wintry with deep slate roofs and diamond-­pane windows. It was built of rough-­faced stone, and had countless chimneys rising from its steep gables, and a sprawling conservatory on the west side, all white iron and glass. Reuben loved it. He’d loved it in the photographs online but nothing had prepared him for its solemn grandeur.

He’d grown up in an old house on San Francisco’s Russian Hill, and spent a lot of time in the impressive old homes of Presidio Heights, and the suburbs of San Francisco, including Berkeley, where he’d gone to school, and Hillsborough, where his late grandfather’s half-­timber mansion had been the holiday gathering place for many a year. But nothing he had ever seen could compare to the Nideck family home.

The sheer scale of this place, stranded as it was in its own park, suggested another world.

“The real thing,” he’d said under his breath the moment he’d seen it. “Look at those slate roofs, and those must be copper gutters.” Lush green vines covered over half the immense structure, reaching all the way to the highest windows, and he’d sat in his car for a long moment, kind of pleasantly astonished and a little worshipful, dreaming of owning a place like this someday when he was a famous writer and the world beat too broad a path to his door.

This was turning out to be just a glorious afternoon.

It had hurt him to see the guesthouse dilapidated and unlivable. But Marchent assured him the big house was in good repair.

He could have listened to her talk forever. Her accent wasn’t British exactly, or Boston or New York. But it was unique, the accent of a child of the world, and it gave her words a lovely preciseness and silvery ring.

“Oh, I know it’s beautiful. I know it’s like no place else on the California coast. I know. I know. But I have no choice but to get rid of all of it,” she explained. “There comes a time when a house owns you and you know you have to get free of it, and go on with the rest of your life.” Marchent wanted to travel again. She confessed she’d spent precious little time here since Uncle Felix disappeared. She was headed down to South America as soon as the property was sold.

“It breaks my heart,” Reuben said. That was too damn personal for a reporter, wasn’t it? But he couldn’t stop himself. And who said he had to be a dispassionate witness? “This is irreplaceable, Marchent. But I’ll write the best story I can on the place. I’ll do my best to bring you a buyer, and I can’t believe it will take that long.”

What he didn’t say was I wish I could buy this place myself. And he’d been thinking about that very possibility ever since he’d first glimpsed the gables through the trees.

“I’m so glad the paper sent you, of all people,” she said. “You’re passionate and I like that so very much.”

For one moment, he thought, Yes, I’m passionate and I want this house, and why not, and when will an opportunity like this ever come again? But then he thought of his mother and of Celeste, his petite brown-­eyed girlfriend, the rising star in the district attorney’s office, and how they’d laugh at the idea, and the thought went cold.

“What’s wrong with you, Reuben, what’s the matter?” asked Marchent. “You had the strangest look in your eye.”

“Thoughts,” he said, tapping his temple. “I’m writing the piece in my head. ‘Architectural jewel on the Mendocino coast, first time on the market since it was built.’ ”

“Sounds good,” she said. There was that faint accent again, of a citizen of the world.

“I’d give the house a name if I bought it,” said Reuben, “you know, something that captured the essence of it. Nideck Point.”

“Aren’t you the young poet,” she said. “I knew it when I saw you. And I like the pieces you’ve written for your paper. They have a distinct character. But you’re writing a novel, aren’t you? Any young reporter your age should be writing a novel. I’d be ashamed of you if you weren’t.”

“Oh, that’s music to my ears,” he confessed. She was so beautiful when she smiled, all the fine lines of her face seemingly so eloquent and pretty. “My father told me last week that a man of my age has absolutely nothing to say. He’s a professor, burnt out, I might add. He’s been revising his ‘Collected Poems’ for ten years, since he retired.” Talking too much, talking too much about himself, not good at all.

His father might actually love this place, he thought. Yes, Phil Golding was in fact a poet and he would surely love it, and he might even say so to Reuben’s mother who would scoff at the whole idea. Dr. Grace Golding was the practical one and the architect of their lives. She was the one who’d gotten Reuben his job at the San Francisco Observer, when his only qualification was a master’s in English literature and yearly world travel since birth.

Grace had been proud of his recent investigative pieces, but she’d cautioned that this “real estate story” was a waste of his time.

“There you go again, dreaming,” Marchent said. She put her arm around him and actually kissed him on the cheek as she laughed. He was startled, caught unawares by the soft pressure of her breasts against him and the subtle scent of a rich perfume.

“Actually, I haven’t accomplished one single thing in my life yet,” he said with an ease that shocked him. “My mother’s a brilliant surgeon; my big brother’s a priest. My mother’s father was an international real estate broker by the time he was my age. But I’m a nothing and a nobody, actually. I’ve only been with the paper six months. I should have come with a warning label. But believe me, I’ll make this a story you’ll love.”

“Rubbish,” she said. “Your editor told me your story on the Greenleaf murder led to the arrest of the killer. You are the most charming and self-­effacing boy.”

He struggled not to blush. Why was he admitting all these things to this woman? Seldom if ever did he make self-­deprecating statements. Yet he felt some immediate connection with her he couldn’t explain.

“That Greenleaf story took less than a day to write,” he murmured. “Half of what I turned up on the suspect never saw print at all.”

She had a twinkle in her eye. “Tell me—­how old are you, Reuben? I’m thirty-­eight. How is that for total honesty? Do you know many women who volunteer that they’re thirty-­eight?”

“You don’t look it,” he said. And he meant it. What he wanted to say was You’re rather perfect, if you ask me. “I’m twenty-­three,” he confessed.

“Twenty-­three? You’re just a boy.”

Of course. “Sunshine Boy,” as his girlfriend Celeste always called him. “Little Boy,” according to his big brother, Fr. Jim. And “Baby Boy,” according to his mother, who still called him that in front of people. Only his dad consistently called him Reuben and saw only him when their eyes met. Dad, you should see this house! Talk about a place for writing, talk about a getaway, talk about a landscape for a creative mind.

He shoved his freezing hands in his pockets and tried to ignore the sting of the wind in his eyes. They were making their way back up to the promise of hot coffee and a fire.

“And so tall for that age,” she said. “I think you’re uncommonly sensitive, Reuben, to appreciate this rather cold and grim corner of the earth. When I was twenty-­three I wanted to be in New York and Paris. I was in New York and Paris. I wanted the capitals of the world. What, have I insulted you?”

“No, certainly not,” he said. He was reddening again. “I’m talking too much about myself, Marchent. My mind’s on the story, never fear. Scrub oak, high grass, damp earth, ferns, I’m recording everything.”

“Ah yes, the fresh young mind and memory, nothing like it,” she said. “Darling, we’re going to spend two days together, aren’t we? Expect me to be personal. You’re ashamed of being young, aren’t you? Well, you needn’t be. And you’re distractingly handsome, you know, why you’re just about the most adorable boy I’ve ever seen in my entire life. No, I mean it. With looks like yours, you don’t have to be much of anything, you know.”

He shook his head. If she only knew. He hated it when people called him handsome, adorable, cute, to die for. “And how will you feel if they ever stop?” his girlfriend Celeste had asked him. “Ever think about that? Look, Sunshine Boy, with me, it’s strictly your looks.” She had a way of teasing with an edge, Celeste did. Maybe all teasing had an edge.

“Now, I really have insulted you, haven’t I?” asked Marchent. “Forgive me. I think all of us ordinary mortals tend to mythologize people as good-­looking as you. But of course what makes you so remarkable is that you have a poet’s soul.”

They had reached the edge of the flagstone terrace.

Something had changed in the air. The wind was even more cutting. The sun was indeed dying behind the silver clouds and headed for the darkening sea.

She stopped for a moment, as if to catch her breath, but he couldn’t tell. The wind whipped the tendrils of her hair around her face, and she put a hand up to shelter her eyes. She looked at the high windows of the house as if searching for something, and there came over Reuben the most forlorn feeling. The loneliness of the place pressed in.

They were miles from the little town of Nideck and Nideck had, what, two hundred real inhabitants? He’d stopped there on the way in and found most of the shops on the little main street were closed. The bed-­and-­breakfast had been for sale “forever,” said the clerk at the gas station, but yes, you have cell phone and Internet connections everywhere in the county, no need to worry about that.

Right now, the world beyond this windswept terrace seemed unreal.

“Does it have ghosts, Marchent?” he asked, following her gaze to the windows.

“It doesn’t need them,” she declared. “The recent history is grim enough.”

“Well, I love it,” he said. “The Nidecks were people of remarkable vision. Something tells me you’ll get a very romantic buyer, one who can transform it into a unique and unforgettable hotel.”

“Now that’s a thought,” she said. “But why would anyone come here, in particular, Reuben? The beach is narrow and hard to reach. The redwoods are glorious but you don’t have to drive four hours from San Francisco to reach glorious redwoods in California. And you saw the town. There is nothing here really except Nideck Point, as you call it. I have a suffocating feeling sometimes that this house won’t be standing much longer.”

“Oh, no! Let’s not even think of that. Why, no one would dare—­.”

She took his arm again and they moved on over the sandy flags, past his car, and towards the distant front door. “I’d fall in love with you if you were my age,” she said. “If I’d met anyone quite as charming as you, I wouldn’t be alone now, would I?”

“Why would a woman like you ever have to be alone?” he asked. He had seldom met someone so confident and graceful. Even now after the trek in the woods, she looked as collected and groomed as a woman shopping on Rodeo Drive. There was a thin little bracelet around her left wrist, a pearl chain, he believed they called it, and it gave her easy gestures an added glamour. He couldn’t quite tell why.

There were no trees to the west of them. The view was open for all the obvious reasons. But the wind was positively howling off the ocean now, and the gray mist was descending on the last sparkle of the sea. I’ll get the mood of all this, he thought. I’ll get this strange darkening moment. And a little shadow fell deliciously over his soul.

He wanted this place. Maybe it would have been better if they’d sent someone else to do this story, but they’d sent him. What remarkable luck.

“Good Lord, it’s getting colder by the second,” she said as they hurried. “I forget the way the temperature drops on the coast here. I grew up with it, but I’m always taken by surprise.” Yet she stopped once more and looked up at the towering façade of the house as though she was searching for someone, and then she shaded her eyes and looked out into the advancing mist.

Yes, she may come to regret selling this place terribly, he thought. But then again, she may have to. And who was he to make her feel the pain of that if she didn’t want to address it herself?

For a moment, he was keenly ashamed that he himself had the money to buy the property and he felt he should make some disclaimer, but that would have been unspeakably rude. Nevertheless, he was calculating and dreaming.

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Reading Group Guide

The questions, discussion topics, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group's discussion of The Wolf Gift, Anne Rice's stunning return to the realm of the supernatural and its temptations and perils. 

1. What emotions do the description of the mansion and its setting in the first chapter evoke? How does Rice create a sense of both wonder and foreboding? Choosing some passages, discuss how the combination of literal descriptions and metaphor contributes to the mood she establishes. What does the physical setting share with other gothic or horror novels you have read?

2. Reuben presents himself as "a nothing and a nobody" (p. 7). How do his family and his girlfriend, Celeste, reinforce his self-image? What qualities shape the way he is perceived and treated by them? To what extent is he a stereotype of a privileged young man with few (or at least undefined) goals in life?

3. Why is there an immediate connection between Marchent and Reuben? What aspects of their personalities and their situations draw them to one another?  In what ways does the atmosphere of the house and its remarkable contents intensify their feelings?

4. What do the attempts of the police, the doctors, Grace, and Reuben himself to identify the animal that killed Marchent and her brothers and severely wounded Reuben say about the way people cope with an unusual and horrific event (pp. 52-55)?  How do professional beliefs (or biases) influence the explanations of Grace, Phil, and Jim?

5. "With every particle of himself he was breathing, breathing as he'd never breathed in his life, his whole being expanding, hardening, growing stronger and stronger by the second.... His voice was guttural, roughened. He began to laugh with delight, low and confidential..." (p. 83). Discuss how the physical changes Reuben experiences during his transformation into a Man Wolf mirror the changes that occur during adolescence.  What other aspects of Reuben's transformation can be interpreted as an allegory for the onset of manhood?

6. Why does Laura succumb to Reuben so readily (p. 177-183)? Later, after telling Laura about his powers, Reuben asks himself, "But what right did he have to tell her about these things? What right did he have to seduce her with 'stories' that made it all sound so meaningful when perhaps it was not meaningful-when it was violent and primitive and dark" (p. 215).  How would you answer these questions?

7. When Reuben asks Jim "Do you believe in evil, a disembodied principle of evil...Do you ever think you can feel in coming out of someone?"  Jim replies, "It's situational and psychological" (p. 71). Phil's view of evil is that "It's blunders, people making blunders..." (p. 158). To what extent do their positions reflect your own understanding of evil?

8. Closely aligned to the question of evil are Reuben's concerns about the morality of his vicious acts as the Man Wolf. Does his embrace of his super-powers--and his exhilaration when he hunts down and destroys evil-doers-constitute an alternative, yet acceptable, moral code? How do his actions fit into your and society's understanding of right and wrong? Is vigilantism ever morally justifiable?

9. Compare Reuben's piece on  "our most crucial moral positions" (p. 233-234), his article for the Observer (p. 371), and his declaration,  "I am not a creature without conscience, without empathy, without the capacity for good" (p. 272). Are these views compatible and if not, what accounts for the differences among them?

10. Is Rueben able to reconcile powers of the "wolf gift" with the religious traditions he grew up with? Why does he reveal his altered state to Jim, a Catholic priest (pp. 186-191)? Do Jim's thoughts about the existence of magic and the supernatural reflect a traditional Catholic point of view (pp. 194-6)?  What role does the theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin play in Reuben's and Laura's understanding of man's place in the universe (pp. 150; 334; 384)?

11. What do you think of Laura's view that Reuben is "a mystery the way a sacrament is a mystery (p. 235)?  How do her personal beliefs and philosophy influence her attachment to Reuben and to the other Morphenkinder (p.384)?

12. The search for a scientific explanation of Reuben's transformation runs throughout the novel. What do the attempts to study Reuben's DNA and the suggestion that Morphenkinder may have evolved due to the effects of Chrism on progenitor cells imply about the efficacy and the limitations of sophisticated, cutting edge scientific inquiry? (p. 256-7)? How do the test results at the San Francisco hospital relate to Felix's explanation of Chism (pp. 436; 456)?

13. Why is Grace so determined to find a logical explanation for the Man Wolf terrorizing (pp.298; 425; 428)? What does it reflect about her role as a scientist? About her fears-and perhaps suspicions--as Reuben's mother?

14. What was your reaction to the gory, graphic details in The Wolf Gift? Do you find them unnecessarily gruesome or are they essential to the traditions of supernatural and gothic story-telling?

15. What distinguishes Reuben from the "beasts" depicted in movies and books like The Howling, the popular Twilight Saga, and the classic Wolf Man films starring Lon Chaney Jr.? What is the significance of his being part of the Morphenkind community?  What do Felix and the others offer him?  Why is understanding their history and the lore surrounding werewolves important to Reuben (461-483)? What insights does he gain into his own experiences and into the relationship between the natural and supernatural worlds?

16. The Wolf Gift is the first book in a series. Which characters are you most eager to meet again in the next volume, The Wolves of Midwinter? What aspects of Morphenkind life would you like to explore further?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 411 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 411 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Welcome Back to the Fantastical

    Rice revisited her roots in Wolf Gift and I am glad she did. The plot, centering around a young journalist who goes through a most exotic and emotionally perplexing transformation is different from other werewolf books. The change isn't exactly horrific and while the wolves do kill, they kill for a reason and its one of those moral gray areas which makes the reader think. I like it, I like Rice, and like all of her other very compelling novels...this book describes atmosphere and emotion better than anything. I am so glad to see her back in a supernatural genre where she belongs, if you want a slightly different take on the wolf myth, go for this book.

    48 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    loved it

    Great book with great story line. Stayed up late to finish it.

    43 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    From the Wolf's Gift: "Actually, I haven't accomplished one

    From the Wolf's Gift:
    "Actually, I haven't accomplished one single thing in my life yet," he said with an ease that shocked him. "My mother's a brilliant surgeon; my big brother's a priest. My mother's father was an international real estate broker by the time he was my age. But I'm a nothing and a nobody, actually. I've only been with the paper six months. I should have come with a warning label. But believe me, I'll make this a story you'll love."

    Unfortunately it doesn't. This is a very sanitized PC correct retelling of the werewolf mythos and surprisingly the most believable aspect of the novel is that there is a werewolf in it. The actions and reactions of all others involved fail to ring with any truth to them. You are reading a book, by a talented author who brings nothing fresh, new and exciting to the genre.
    For any story, especially a story that should be classified as horror there needs to be a definite suspension of belief and in this The Wolf's Gift fails. The protaginist meets an older women at a house he falls in love with and by connection falls in love with the older woman as well. Nevermind the fiance he left back in town. In the space of the single day he has dinner and sex and while he waits for her to return to bed, she calls her lawyers and wills the house to him. All in one night, must have been some night. But then she is attacked and so is he, but in the midst of the attack something comes to their rescue and bites him. She dies and he turns. The fiance and his family are incredibly understanding (the fiance is a DA who is involved now in the murder investigation. Hey he slept with the woman but he didn't kill her and it was a romantic night so she understands. His mom the surgeon is worried that he is healing so quickly.
    As a werewolf he can only attack evil doers as shedding innocent blood is repugnant and the beast cannot kill innocence....
    It gets more unbelievable from here.

    I once read that horror, done poorly, becomes comedy. A farce. This is the Wolf's Gift.

    31 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Borrow- do not buy.

    I love Anne Rice but this is beneath her. Or perhaps I'm getting a more developed BS detector. First, the characters were AWFUL. When Rice wasnt using them to suffer the reader through descriptive fireplaces, herb salad, or redwood forests... she made them dialogue in the most ridiculous manner. I dont know who the hell talks the way Reuben does. It was irritating, unneccesary, and distracting. Reuben himself was completely unlikeable. When he was with Laura, he tells himself whatever 'thing' he had with Marchent wasn't love. Then when Felix shows up, he mourns the love he lost that was Marchent. So either Rice was lazy, or Reuben is exactly what I thought he is-- a tool. Someone reviewed that 'reading this is akin to a creative writing assignment in highschool.' You know, the awful story your friend wrote that you pretend to like but just sucked 3 hours of your time? There's so much more to pick on... lack of plot, the forced presence of religion, that Laura came from practically nowhere, or the unintended hilarity of an orgasmic transformation....

    25 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    As only Rice can do

    Finally Anne has came full circle, and it dosent let you down. A little slow to start but the story finally held me in its grips to the weee hours of the morning. As good a tale as the Vampires, the Mayfair Witches or Ramese the Damned and I'd not mind seeing more from these age-old morphenkind, past and present. I know when a story has really hooked me, its when I think, please mamm may I have another.

    25 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Insufferably Boring

    I have always been a fan of the werewolf genre; (movies, books, etc.) and I had to force myself to finish this book. The characters were flat and boring, the dialogue was the worst I've come across since George Lucas' wooden dialogue in the Star Wars prequels, the pacing felt rushed, like Rice just wanted to be finished with the book, and even the descriptive language felt like a high schooler's attempt at creative writing. I wish I could get my money and my time back after reading this incredibly disappointing book. I wish I could give less than a one star rating.

    18 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Zero Stars

    I don't know what happened to Anne Rice, her earlier stories were riveting, her characters fully fleshed and dynamic, and despite the absurdity of the world she still sold it. Not so with The Wolf Gift. The premise is a joke, the characters wooden, and the situation's are implausible to say the least.
    What's worse is despite the fact that the main character is a homicidal werewolf, she tries to sell you that he's still a good christian man, complete with sending the werewolf to confession. She never felt the need to sell Lestat as a good guy. He wasn't, yet we still loved him, faults and all.
    Sorry Anne, you may have found god, but you lost your soul.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012


    Anne Rice is known for her well researched books, story lines and plots but this book was beyong wonderful. At times it seemed a hell of a lot to take in: the rich history and the lore, the whole idea of the werewolf in general...she managed to put a new spin on the subject. This book definitely will make one evaluate their beliefs in the lore and even God. She consistently offers a new way of thinking and explains the mass hysteria humanity is capable of as well as the sincere understanding so few posess. That inate ability for persistance and a belief in something greater, that humankind can be human and monster, hero snd villian all at once is an amazing concept. These morphenkind seem far more close to humans than her vampires and far more fallible to the world of today. This book is highly recommended if you like to think and ponder within yourself, and if you open yourself to new possibilities!

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    INSTANT CLASSIC (a must read)

    I am on my second read of The Wolf Gift, 3/4 of the way done. I know as soon as Im done I will read it for the 3rd time.Yes its that good, the book is fantastic, Classic Anne Rice, Plot, fantastic characters, suspense, romance, it has it all. The details in Anne's writting puts your mind in a 3D movie. Another best seller for Anne Rice and a instant classic. I highly recommend this book to everyone, and give it a 5 star rating because thats the highest score, but it really deserves a 10 star rating. Henry Valdes (Miami FL)

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Fantastic Book.

    I loved this book and could not put it down. This is traditional Anne Rice. I can not wait to read the next. I was not real happy with her last series and I have read most her books from the beginning. This is Anne at her best on the Human Condition. Thanks Anne.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    This book was a complete disappointment. It started out like cla

    This book was a complete disappointment. It started out like classic Anne Rice and I loved it, but it guickly turned to complete stupiity. I had to give up onthe book. Anne needs to get off this religious high horse and stop involving the Church in everything she does. When the wereeolf goes to confession AS A WEREWOLF, the boundry has been crossed and can not be recovered. such a sham to see an amazing author go to waste

    9 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    HowlllllTastic :)

    This is the first Time I have ever written a review for a book. I wanted this to be a Moment that will never be forgotten, so Im about to review a book that has changed my life in so many ways. When I first heard about the wolf gift back last November, I was ecstatic and over whelmed with excitement as the days got closer to Feb.14th 2012 I met many fans of Anne Rice that had little or No money but these were good people that were saddened that the release date was approaching and they could not share the anticipation or joy with all the other fans, so discretely I began a collection of address's of fans that I knew would love this book and would give anything to have a copy. On Feb. 14th and the week following, I bought 16 copies of The Wolf Gift, one copy for myself and sent the rest of them to complete strangers around the globe so that they could share this moment with all of the Rice Fans. I had not read a book by Anne Rice since Interview with the Vampire in 1994 when I was a senior in High school and I carried that book from class to class and when I got bored in class I would read, It took me to a world that I could see and Imagine and all I knew is that I wanted to be apart of that world forever, I read it several times before the movie was introduced ohh yes! I was full forced into Vampire fever when I First saw the movie in the Theatre :) so now fast forward to 2012 on Feb. 14th, I spent my lovers day curled up wearing my snuggie on my new royal blue Micro Suede couch in my office and away I went into another world.. Anne's description of the redwoods was a feeling of home as I have touched these redwoods many times through out my life, I know the smell of the bark and I know the fog very well as I have grown up on the west coast and have been to California many times so I can feel what Reuben was seeing as he first came to Nideck Point and from those first couple of pages I was hooked and read three quarters of the book nearly finishing the book that night as it was the 5 most incredible hours of my decade. The most intense moment for me was when Reuben experienced his transformation into the unknown darkness that he was about to face for the very first time of his existence and that gave me the chills down to the core of my bones, as I preceded on I felt the desire to want to be the merchant and feel Reuben in my arms. Anne Rice gave me a chance to live inside The wolf Gift and I have never lusted any story quite like this in my whole life and I had great desire for more of this story as I read the last words of the book "and Lord, I thank you for the Wolf Gift.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Highly recommended

    At first it was a little slow. But then i really gobt into it. Reubban is a different kind of werewolf. Instead of killing humans for blood lust. He kills humans who are evil like murderers crueltly hes like a viglante. Its a new and refreshing twist on werewolf stories. Im not done with the book yet.but i know i will like it. Try it its a new angle on werewolf stories. (:

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012


    As a fan of paranormal genre I was excited to see The Wolf Gift from Anne Rice. However I was terribly disappointed. The book started out promising and then just never developed. The only part of the book that seemed to have any effort from her were the gorry scenes of him "feasting on flesh". Save your money.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    It is another must read

    I have just read one chapter and I can not wait to finish, I am really partial to wolves myself and now another wonderful wolf tale by a wonderful writer!!!!

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    Not so much

    The story opened with possibility.
    Then it quickly just dragged along.

    7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012


    I was excited to see Ms. Rice had went back to this genre. I was disappointed that the quality was not the same. This book seemed to drag in many places. I would not buy another of this series.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    A Gift to Her Fans

    I was excited to experiance another supernatural tale by A. Rice! A HUGE fan of her vampire series I was vey intrested to see her vivid twist on werwolves, and twist she did! Rice is never one to follow suit in "traditional" tellings of the supernatural and she leaves you with a taste in your mouth longing to know more, page after page.

    I feel this is a new series being developed, that we will need the rich back story as the mystery unfolds.....just as Interview with a Vampire lead us into her world of vampires, The Wolf Gift leads us into her impresive tales of the man wolf.

    It is my greatest hope the story does not end here as it has left me excited and yearning for more.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012


    The central love story is terrible and ridiculous. The characters arent likeable. Theyre pretensious and unrealistic. I was very disappointed. As an Anne Rice reader, I'm shocked at the way this book dragged on. The book was often super predictable or totally mind boggling because of the inorganic actions of the characters. Most of the book was unbelievable not because it was a werewolf involved, but because the series of thoughts, actions and conversations made no sense. There were short bursts of interest, but they were far and few between.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mrs. Rice had done it again. The Wolf Gift introduces a great ne

    Mrs. Rice had done it again. The Wolf Gift introduces a great new cast of characters. This pack of werewolves will, no doubt, be featured in several more volumes in much the way that her wonderful vampires and witches were explored and developed in so many previous volumes. The main character of Reuben reminds me somewhat of the lovely Louis of the Vampire Chronicles, and Stuart brings to mind the little vampire girl of those novels. I suspect that Felix or one of the other guys introduced towards the end of the book will play a role similar to the vampire Lestat (including a wonderful historical backstory). The story in this novel unfolds in a unique way, with the werewolves sort of presented in the role of super hero. The novel also considers religion in interesting ways that I am sure reflects the author’s on-going personal evolution in her spiritual beliefs. One suspects that some aspects of this story probably reflect or ponder meaning and truths in the author’s gay son’s life. I can’t help but wonder if the blonde teen wolf (who is openly gay) represents at least some of her thoughts about her boy. I think it’s wonderful that she is more directly than ever focusing on this subject matter and how it co-mingles with all of society. I have very much enjoyed Anne’s books about angels and the life of Jesus, but no one is better than she with these supernatural beings and creatures of folklore. I eagerly await the next novel in what will hopefully be a large series.
    Michael Travis Jasper, author of the novel “To Be Chosen”

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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