Brotherhood of the Wolf


David Farland


Fantasy / Science Fiction


Date Reviewed:

June 14, 2004

This book is the second in a fantasy series called the Runelords. The novel has as a unique idea: in this land, wizards have discovered "forcibles", a magical way for transferring attributes from one being to another. For example, a person might have their strength transferred to a knight - the knight will now possess the strength of two men, but the donor is now a helpless weakling who must be cared for, because if the weakling dies, then the knight loses his bonus strength. Conversely, if the knight dies, then the attribute of strength will return to the original donor. All manner of attributes may be transferred: wit, glamor, metabolism, vision, etc. Farland has taken this idea and developed a fantasy world. The kings and knights are supermen. Indeed, the villan Raj Athen has taken thousands of attributes - he is called "The Sum of All Men", and none may stand before him. Our hero is King Gabron, who is trying to stave off the assault of Raj Athen and his army of Invicibles.

Underneath the ground dwell a race of supertough creatures called Reavers. Every few thousand years, the Reavers burst to the surface and a wreak havoc, threatening to destroy humanity. What drives the Reavers is unknown, they are like giant insects, with incredible strength and killing power. Good King Gabron knows that the Reavers are the real threat, he needs to convince Raj Athen that all of humanity must unite against the common foe. But Raj Athen is intent upon conquest.

King Gabron has some bonus powers of his own: he has assumed the role of the Earth King. Apparently, the earth itself fears for the humans, and so when the Reavers threaten, the earth selects a champion and bestoys upon him special earth powers.

Brotherhood of the Wolf is the second book in the series, there are two more installments presently published, I am not sure if more books are slated to follow. This book is essentially the story of how Raj Athen lays seige to one of Gabron's mightiest fortresses, only to find that he must then turn around and battle a host of Reavers that gather at the fortress walls. Huge numbers of armies are slaughtered. The fighting goes on for chapters.

Besides Gabron and Athen, Farland has some other characters - some seem to be included (like Baron Poll and Roland) merely to allow Farland to describe the epic battle from the viewpoint of the common soldier. Averan has a bigger role to play - she is a young girl who befriends a strange green woman - this woman is not human, she may be a spirit called up by Gabron's earth wizard. She possesses incredible killing power, and seems to be especially designed to destroy Reavers. Unfortunately, this second volume does not seem to be the time for her to act, Farland merely introduces here. Apparently a later volume in the series will see her in action against the Reavers.

Farland has a pretty good fantasy series going here. I may have even enjoyed the first novel in this series more than this one, where the idea of the transferred attributes is first introduced, and Gabron's relationship to his queen is explored (they seem to spend most of this novel separated, fighting bad guys in parallel plot threads). I will probably read the next book in this series.