Murphy's Lore: Shadow of the Wolf
Written by Patrick Thomas
Published by Padwolf Publishing
By Jon Minners
If you have read my past reviews, you will know how much I enjoy Patrick Thomas’ writing and the series, Murphy's Lore, he created featuring off-beat characters set in a bar called Bulfinche's Pub. Ever since I read my first book from the series, entitled Murphy's Lore: Fool's Day, I have been hooked, eagerly awaiting another edition of the fantasy series. I got the opportunity to review the latest in the line of books, the fourth in the series, called Shadow of the Wolf.
As you may have guessed, this tale features werewolves. Werewolf Ted Brand is not really lucky with the ladies, but he sure gets his share of tail; unfortunately, it is in the form of an actual wolf, named Shan. Yes, when Ted turned into a werewolf, he encountered Shan and had strange, but acceptable inter-species sex with her, resulting in two kids, who turn into humans when the moon is full. A unique and intriguing concept, that immediately sucked me into the story. Originality is missing in today’s books, but Patrick Thomas continues to breathe fresh, new life into every fantasy and horror.
However, a werewolf living with his wolf wife and were-human children would make for a boring story if it did not contain any drama and this book is filled with it. Ted Brand has a mother-in-law who thinks he is crazy and is out to get him, but that is the least of his concerns when a Department of the Mystic Arts rogue agent, Buck Lang, a werewolf himself, challenges and defeats Ted Brand, kidnapping his family in the process. Lang believes the were-children could be useful as undercover pets, if trained properly, but Uncle Sam, the leader of the organization does not condone this behavior in his agents and wants Lang to return the family to Ted. Unfortunately, Lang has had enough of having to answer for his over-the-top behavior and flees to Canada with Ted’s family in tow.
It is now up to Ted Brand to reclaim his honor and regain his status as the alpha male, but he will need the help of the cursed magi Hex, the gay vampire Lucas Wilson, two former Knights of the Round Table, bartender John Murphy, Olympian God Hermes and our favorite pint-sized bar owner Paddy Moran, if he is going to get his family back alive. You better believe I loved this story! How could I not? This story was obviously well thought out and distinctive from anything else out there. Murphy has another winner.
I love the way Thomas explores the werewolf mystique. Thomas really put his own spin on this classic mythology and made it seem believable and touching. Through trials and tribulations, Ted discovers how to unlock the power within without being overwhelmed by his continued development. In addition to Ted’s werewolf character, Thomas explores Lucas’ temptation for blood and how he fights his cravings to prevent himself from becoming the blood junkie he once was. Also included (for fans of the Murphy’s Lore series) is Hex’s constant struggle to help others with magic, despite the curse that makes him violently ill depending on how much magic he uses. Murphy’s character is also further developed, as Thomas certainly piqued my interest by letting us know that Murphy was invited to join the Eternal Club, despite being a mortal. What does his future hold?
Maybe my only complaint would be some of the childish banter that goes on in the story, from Murphy, who is known to be a wisecracking son of a gun. While, jokes were fun in Murphy's Lore: Fool's Day, because with the end of the world near, you may want to enjoy life a little, going overboard to make Ted Brand laugh and try to forget the pain of having his wife and kids taken from him, seemed almost cruel.
Other than that, Thomas continues to craft a world with well-known characters depicted in a whole new light. He has taken what has been established, turned it on its ear and made not only his own but opened up a whole new chapter in storytelling. Shadow of the Wolf continues Thomas’ streak, raising the bar again and again.