Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Authors
Books
Features
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • The Wolf Gift
  • Written by Anne Rice
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307742100
  • Our Price: $15.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Wolf Gift

Buy now from Random House

  • The Wolf Gift
  • Written by Anne Rice
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780307595119
  • Our Price: $25.95
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Wolf Gift

Buy now from Random House

  • The Wolf Gift
  • Written by Anne Rice
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307700476
  • Our Price: $11.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Wolf Gift

Buy now from Random House

  • The Wolf Gift
  • Written by Anne Rice
    Read by Ron McLarty
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780307877239
  • Our Price: $25.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Wolf Gift

Buy now from Random House

  • The Wolf Gift
  • Written by Anne Rice
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780307990761
  • Our Price: $26.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - The Wolf Gift

The Wolf Gift

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

The Wolf Gift Chronicles (1)

Written by Anne RiceAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Anne Rice



eBook

List Price: $11.99

eBook

On Sale: February 14, 2012
Pages: 400 | ISBN: 978-0-307-70047-6
Published by : Anchor Knopf

Audio Editions

Read by Ron McLarty
On Sale: February 14, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-87723-9
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.


The Wolf Gift Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - The Wolf Gift
  • Email this page - The Wolf Gift
  • Print this page - The Wolf Gift
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
EVENTS EVENTS
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
werewolves (31) fiction (30) horror (18) fantasy (14) paranormal (13)
» see more tags
» hide
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

When Reuben Golding, a young reporter on assignment, arrives at a secluded mansion on a bluff high above the Pacific, it’s at the behest of the home’s enigmatic female owner. She quickly seduces him, but their idyllic night is shattered by violence when the man is inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness. It will set in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation that will propel Reuben into a mysterious new world and raise profound questions. Why has he been given the wolf gift? What is its true nature--good or evil? And are there others out there like him?

Excerpt

I

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.
Anne Rice

About Anne Rice

Anne Rice - The Wolf Gift

Photo © Becket Ghioto

Anne Rice is the author of thirty-two books. She lives in Palm Desert, California.
 
www.annerice.com

Praise

Praise

“Vintage Anne Rice—a lushly written, gothic … metaphysical tale. This time, with werewolves.” —The Wall Street Journal
 
“I want to howl at the moon over this. . . . Rice’s style [is] as solid and engaging as anything she has written since her early vampire chronicle fiction.” —Alan Cheuse, The Boston Globe
 
“A fast-paced, heady romp that ranks with [Rice’s] best…. Feisty and terrific fun.” —Joy Tipping, Dallas Morning News
 
“Intoxicating.” —USA Today
 
“A delectable cocktail of old-fashioned lost-race adventure, shape-shifting and suspense, brightened by enticing hints of a secret history.” —Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post

“One part Beauty and the Beast love story, one part meditation on morality and immortality, and one part superman tale…. Rice deepens and gives nuance to classic werewolf lore.” —The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
 
“An entertaining tale of good vs. evil.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“Evolves from a fantastical romp into an engrossing thriller.” —San Francisco Chronicle 
 
“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
 
“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.” —Bookreporter
 
“The queen of gothic lit, the maestro of the monstrous and the diva of the devious . . . has returned to her roots.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“The best Rice has written since … Interview with the Vampire. . . . Brilliant. . . .Wit-filled, languid and vibrant, brainy and snarling.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
 
 “Highly entertaining.” —The Washington Times  
 
“Written with compelling modernity . . . The Wolf Gift is a strong—and welcome—return to the monster mythology that made Anne Rice famous.” —Shelf Awareness

Reader's Guide|About the Book|Author Biography|Discussion Questions|Suggestions

About the Book

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. 

About the Guide

Reuben Golding, a young reporter, is entranced by the grand old house on the Nideck Point in northern California and by Marchent, its beautiful, enigmatic owner.  Marchent guides him through the mansion, drawing Reuben into its strange, intriguing history.  They spend a magical night making love, but in the early morning hours Reuben awakens to horrific screams. Attacked by crazed intruders, Marchent lies dying in the hallway and Reuben knows he is the next to die. As he stumbles in the darkness, Reuben is set upon and bitten by a vicious, unidentifiable creature. When he awakens in the hospital days later Reuben is the center of much speculation: the doctors are mystified by his rapid recovery from his life-threatening wounds and the inexplicable increase in his strength and size; and the press and the public are clamoring for information about the beast that attacked him. But the significance of the events at Nideck Point is greater than anyone imagines. Reuben has become a werewolf, inextricably linked to the mysterious creatures of myth and legend.

Exhilarating, seductive, and terrifying, The Wolf Gift is the story of the making of a werewolf as only Anne Rice could tell it.

About the Author

Anne Rice is the author of 31 books, including Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, The Lives of the Mayfair Witches, and The Songs of Seraphim. She lives in Palm Desert, California. 

Discussion Guides

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?

Suggested Readings

Angela Carter, The Company of Wolves; Guy Endore, The Werewolf of Paris; Jennifer Egan, The Keep; Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis; Stephen King, Doctor Sleep; Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian; Joyce Carol Oates, Accursed; Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Whitley Strieber, The Wolfen; Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger
Anne Rice

Anne Rice Events>

Anne Rice - The Wolf Gift

Photo © Becket Ghioto

11/14/2014

,

Confirmed
Map It
11/15/2014 Inspire: Toronto International Book Fair. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building.
torontobookfair.ca
Toronto, ON
12:00pm
Confirmed
Map It

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: