The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
In this new historical romantic fantasy of stunning originality and scope, Alice Borchardt breathes life into a bygone age, brilliantly recreating a sensuous, violent world--and the men and women whose grand ambitions, betrayals, and passions shape the era in which they live and die.
Decadent Rome at the dawn of the Dark Ages is mired in crumbling grandeur. Now, into the Eternal City comes Regeane, a beautiful young woman distantly related, through her dead mother, to Charlemagne. Regeane's regal blood renders her an unwilling pawn in the struggle for political power. But unknown to those plotting against her, the blood she has inherited from her murdered father makes her much more than a child of royalty. Possessed of preternatural agility and strength, primal memories extending back thousands of years, and senses so keen they can pierce the veil of death itself, Regeane is a shapeshifter: woman and wolf, hunter and hunted.
Betrothed by Charlemagne's command to a barbarian lord she has never seen, Regeane is surrounded by enemies. The most notorious, her depraved uncle and guardian, will not scruple to betray her to the Church unless she aids him in his sinister schemes. And if the Church discovers her secret, Regeane will burn at the stake. Yet Regeane finds allies as well: Lucilla, rumored to be the private courtesan of Pope Hadrian himself; Antonius, a wise and gentle soul trapped within a body grotesquely disfigured by disease; and the little Saxon girl Elfgifa, brave beyond her years, with a tongue as sharp as a blade.
Outside the gates of Rome, baying on the moonlit expanses of the Campagna, there is a mysterious dark wolf whose scent makes the animal in Regeane tremble with desire. Now, as an infamous stranger prepares to claim his bride, deadly plots and counter plots tighten like a noose around her neck, Regeane must fight to live with dignity as the proud creature she is: civilized and savage, woman and wolf, partaking of both yet infinitely more than either . . .
Lyrical, fast-paced, sensual, and rich with historical detail and deep insights into the heart, The Silver Wolf catapults Alice Borchardt squarely into the front rank of contemporary women writers. Her intricate plot and hypnotic voice will cast a spell that few will be able to resist.