Twilight of the Wolves is an epic fantasy following a man cursed by a dying god's blessing, a mute eunuch carrying the dead to the Goddess of Death, and a young girl saved from a burning metropolis only to be raised by the cursed man and two wolf gods. These three lives intersect and become bound together as they walk with gods, watch them die, and hide from the terror that is humanity's lust for violence and destruction. Wandering across countries and cultures, the characters discover the cacophony and contradiction of visions and values that define humanity. They see the collision of cultures highlighting the definitions of civilisation and try to find their place within and without them. The past, present, and future haunt the people of this world as they wander on, hoping to find an answer to the questions buried deepest.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Synopsis: "Twilight of the Wolves" by Edward J. Rathke is an epic fantasy involving a man cursed by a dying god's blessing, a mute eunuch carrying the dead to the Goddess of Death, and a young girl saved from a burning metropolis only to be raised by the cursed man and two wolf gods. These three lives intersect and become bound together as they walk with gods, watch them die, and hide from the terror that is humanity's lust for violence and destruction. Wandering across countries and cultures, the characters discover the cacophony and contradiction of visions and values that define humanity. They see the collision of cultures highlighting the definitions of civilization and try to find their place within and without them. The past, present, and future haunt the people of this world as they wander on, hoping to find an answer to the questions buried deepest.
Critique: A beautifully crafted story of unexpected plot twists and turns, "Twilight of the Wolves" is an inherently fascinating and thoroughly absorbing read from beginning to end -- and one that will have very strong appeal for fantasy fiction enthusiasts. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Fantasy & Science Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Twilight of the Wolves" is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).
~ Jack Mason, Midwest Book Reviews
As soon as Twilight of the Wolves begins, you know it’s music. Music made by the hands digging deep into the underground, into determined earth-dirtying of the senses. The symmetry of notes makes this crystalline, each clause engineered into mantra-like potential. “And then he fell away, his life drifted away, the vision inside him, growing, rebuilding, creating newness, wholeness out of neverness. The song, nothing but the song, and Her eyes, ephemeral and purple, galactic dust swallowing him, and he swam in that twilit world of nothings and nowheres until it thickened, viscous, and filled him again.”
As the book says: “Humanity is murdering itself but it is murdering the planet, too. Burning and laying every- thing to waste, to ash and cinder and smoke. Even the wolves die and hide.” Here, the integration of that pungent truth with beauty is found by looking straight at Death. This is a dopamine-creating book for those who love language and cerebral stimulation exploring realms of ineffable reality-music. Twilight of the Wolves is a little somepn’ somepn’ for your euphoria and redemption-of-humanity needs. You can re-read any random spot for renewed joy because it’s not just there to get across a plot: each sentence juxtaposes surprising, pleasing word combinations that live full-on, avoiding anything resembling cliche or default language. The confidently consistent unique voice makes the breath get bigger, the visual field brighter.
The landscape is darkly transcendent paranormal, under a redsun and a bluesun, commanding our suspension of disbelief. Gradual revelations of the fluid and complex nature of the characters’ identity propel the story-line. The floating philosophical nature of the world Rathke creates is resembles Kyle Muntz’ Sunshine in the Valley cast in moonlight.
Sometimes concrete details are replaced with abstract reportage from a voice without human characteristics about a world consisting of things archetypal enough to be labeled with capitals. Skating over that thin ice is my least favorite part of exploring the filigree wonderland.
The rhythms rocks us through the magical brain-chemistry doorway into the world of meaningful esoteric, geometrical concepts. “All was black and She was Light. They were shadows and she was the sun. Singular. They were Death and she was Life. She was their center standing on the stone altar and they surrounded Her in concentric circles emanating out towards the periphery.”
The Goddess emerges from nothing eternally, pulsing death out into the illusion of life. Deathwalkers silently record history and take the dead into it, many of the citizens having been burned by marauding soldiers. In some regions, denizens dominate the lushly giving forest and turn it into artificial grids, hunt the sacred wolves, transforming the world into something mechanically in this world that’s ruthless toward the vulnerable.
Countering that, the wandering Sao nurses a wolf who speaks to him, and curses him, people can enter into Angels, and children open holes in space-time. The adventures take us new poetic places: “It’s as if I stepped into the dream at the very center of my reality and let it go.” Dragons and Arcanes move through the fantasy with literary depth rather than genre predictability. A dying god blesses a man, but is it really more of a curse?
One wolf scene opened my heart and then shocked it to bits. We get to care deeply about all manner of non-human characters in this poignant novel by Edward Rathke. The invented world is complex, worthy of exploration, not the usual categories of creatures inhabiting it. You can read more about it at http://edwardjrathke.com/novels/twilight-of-the-wolves/. ~ Tantra Bensko, MFA, http://www.speakwithoutinterruption.com/site/2014/03/review-of-edward-j-rathkes-twilight-of-the-wolves/
Like a Terrence Malick film set in a universe as rich as Game of Thrones, Twilight of the Wolves is a different kind of fantasy novel: endlessly inventive, thoughtful, and almost painfully beautiful. ~ Kyle Muntz, author of VII
Twilight of the Wolves is an unusual and poetic epic fantasy, with a world, civilizations, and mythologies all of its own, yet unmistakably reminiscent of our past and current world. Best of all, Twilight of the Wolves puts on center stage the people and socioeconomic classes who are often marginalized, suppressed, or overlooked in other types of epic fantasy and secondary worlds, in a passionate and compassionate study of love, languages, and humanness. ~ Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin