Sunday, January 15, 2006

Seeking whom he may devour - Fred Vargas

I couldn't wait to start reading this book.

The premise is fantastic - Disturbing things have been happening up in the French mountains; more and more sheep are being found with their throats torn-out. The evidence points to a wolf of unnatural size and strength.

Which of course leads us to the concept of it being a werewolf and I am a sucker for anything remotely lycantropic or anything to do with wolves. They are our primal fears embodied!

Its a slim book, I thought to myself, a quick easy read. Phsaw. How wrong can one be?

I started reading it and I was swept away on a slow, scary ride of a thriller plotted well and written in beautiful prose.

This book had me sitting outside my house - after I forgot my keys and had to wait for hubby to come home in the evening - on the doorstep, in the moonlight, squinting at the pages. I then looked up and noticed the moon.

It was ghosting through the sky under cover of whispy clouds and it was oh so very very dark.

And I was reading a book about wolves attacking people and sheep. I was petrified. I closed the book and put it back in my bag. What, I kept musing to myself, if it was real? What is that sound? I jumped it in alarm. I sighed in relief. It was hubby coming back from walking the dog and it was the dog's nails clipping on the pavement.


It is a tense, taughtly written piece of fiction with fantastically interesting characters who exude mystery and charm. It is set in France in modern times but in a very rural area where, in my mind, anything can happen. Myths and legends still abound and people live close to the land, where paganism and folklore live side by side with going to Mass, where superstitions are rife and where people can be whipped up into a lynch mob to hunt down a suspected werewolf - an inside out man - at the mere hint of the thought of one being amongst them.

I would really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well written fiction. The end is a scorpion's sting and I didnt' see it coming at all.

Well done, Mme Vargas. I now look forward to reading The Three Evangelists!

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