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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book #Review: The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin

This is  wonderful fairy-tale fantasy and allegory with redemption message.
The Wolf of Tebron
by C. S. Lakin

  • ISBN-13: 9780899578880
  • ISBN: 0899578888
  • Pub. Date: Aug 9, 2010
  • Publisher: AMG Publishers
  • Imprint: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: August 9, 2010 | Series: The Gates of Heaven Series (Book 1)

In classic fairy tale style, we embark on an enchanted journey with a young blacksmith—Joran—whose only desire is to live a peaceful, uncomplicated life in his forest village, a desire shattered by the sudden and bizarre disappearance of his wife, Charris. Later, Joran is plagued by nightmares of an unimaginable sea, where Charris remains trapped in a sand castle at the whim of the Moon. The goose woman insists he will find no rest from his nightmares until he solves the riddle of three keys. She tells him to travel the treacherous journey to the house of the Moon to find the answers he seeks.

Unable to ignore the urgings of his nightmares, Joran sets out north seeking the Moon. Leaving a town and family where he never felt truly at home, Joran’s journey becomes more than just a search for his wife. His path also leads inward, for he must face emotions that have tormented him his entire life—feelings of alienation and anger, of despair and hurt. Along the way he rescues a wolf—a huge, imposing creature that becomes a companion, and eventually a trusted friend.

Joran has the uncanny ability to speak with animals, and learns from the wolf, Ruyah, that he can manipulate his dreams to affect the real world. With Ruyah’s humor and guidance, Joran finds the courage and fortitude to press on, despite setbacks and disappointments. With the wolf by his side he endures the darkness at the end of the world and the ravings of the lunatic Moon, who sends him off—more confused than before—to the Palace of the Sun with a seemingly useless gift.

After trekking through a vast, unmerciful desert, Joran arrives at the Palace of the Sun, where he meets the Sun’s mother, Sola. She helps Joran understand part of his riddle and then sends him, with the gift of a sunstone, to the cave of the South Wind, whom, she says, will finally reveal the truth to him about his wife—if he dares hear it. He and Ruyah travel south through jungle, and finally arrive at the cave. There Joran is swept along a vision where he sees his past, and in horror, learns truths that send him into deep despair. The South Wind dismisses him with one last gift—but like the other two gifts, he has no idea what they are for or how they will help him rescue his wife. She tells him to find the sea of his dreams—far west, beyond his imagining.

The story starts with a Wizard battling evil to try to protect his wife and infant son. He loses his wife and  sends his son away with a huge bear to take him to a village to be safe.

The story then shifts and we meet Joran who is a young man training as a blacksmith in a small village on the edge of Tibron forest. He has always had an affinity for animals and is able to mind talk with them. He is content living a simple life with his beautiful young wife, Charris. One day he sees a woman kissing a neighbor farmer. She is wrapped in Charris’ shawl and Joran accuses her of infidelity. He sends her away without giving her a chance to speak. Nightmares plague Joran as he sees Charris trapped in a castle set on the edge of the sea. In the dreams Joran tries to save her but falls to the sand and wind hazards as the fortress collapses into the water.

When Joran learns that Charris never made it to her parent’s home he is filled with guilt and decides he must seek to save her.  As he travels through the woods he comes upon a wolf caught in a trap. Joran helps the wolf, Ruyah, who becomes his devoted, wise counselor on the journey.

Joran is sent to puzzle out a riddle as he must lose three keys before he can find and free Charris. He goes first to the Moon and receives a special gift. Then he travels to the Sun for the next clue and another gift. From there he is sent to the Wind and finally to the Sea. He faces danger but also he must cope with his own anger, fear and despair. He must be willing to learn the truth of secrets, learn to control his own actions and believe that forgiveness is possible.

I enjoyed the atmosphere of mystery and fairy-tale magic from beginning to end.   I was a bit frustrated as Joran’s despair seemed to go on and on. I wanted to push him along to learn the life issues he faced but I appreciated the positive messages conveyed in such a unique allegory of God’s sacrifice and love for mankind. There is wisdom shared and quotes from Emily Dickinson that I liked. The writing is smooth and made for easy, quick reading. I recommend this as an entertaining story with an uplifting message.

I liked the messages that “home” is a heart location:
He was finally beginning to see that home was a state of mind and not a location. Location 3025.
He had surely taken the long way ‘round to find his way home. Location 3573.
I received this from AMG Publishers for review through NetGalley.

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