Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Historicals Plus: Part II

Wild: the Pack of St. James by Noelle Mack is another historical, this one with a paranormal twist. The hero, Kyril Taruskin, is the leader of a pack of shapeshifters descended from Russian wolves. They handle certain discreet investigations for the Crown, other members of the nobility, and wealthy merchants. The Pack is also engaged in a search for a priceless artifact designed by one of Kyril’s ancestors that has recently been stolen in Russia and is believed to be in England; the theft has triggered renewed interest in Pack activities by a group of Russians led by a man known as “the Wolf Killer.” Complicating the hunt is Kyril’s growing interest in the beautiful Vivienne Sheridan. Vivienne is the former mistress of a duke, a relationship that has left her independently wealthy and in no real hurry to get involved with another man. Kyril has decided to make her his mate, a lifelong bond that will require revealing his true nature to her. However, pursuing the relationship puts them both at risk, as the Pack’s enemies begin to suspect that Vivienne is somehow the key to the missing artifact.

In this book, all the elements work together well. The paranormal world of the Pack is consistent: their history, their shapeshifting abilities, and their social mores all fit within an underlying framework that the author manages to integrate into the action. The secrets that Kyril keeps regarding his abilities and the hunt for the missing treasure create tension in his relationship with Vivienne, as she senses there is more going on than he is admitting to. The chemistry between the two is pretty hot, though I would argue that the lovers spend too much time apart in the course of the book. The historical setting adds to the gothic feel of the story, and again, the author remains consistent without getting mired in detail. Though I have never been a big fan of paranormals, I did enjoy this book, and will take a look at the next in the trilogy when it comes out.

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