The Wolf’s Torment
A good romantic novel is not the massed-produced formulaic massively consumed quickie book commonly known as a “Bodice Ripper.” A romantic novel is more than thin plot lines designed to get the main characters from one sexual congress to the next. S. G. Cardin’s debut novel, The Wolf’s Torment, is a romantic novel without being a clichéd ridden “romance” novel. With elements of historical fiction combined with the gothic supernatural, The Wolf’s Torment is in the similar vein as Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witch Chronicles, but the story is also convoluted like Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations as well as dark Arthurian undertones. It is an erotically charged novel with powerful sexual scenes that are not gratuitous, but necessary for the development of character and plot.
Cardin’s hero, child Prince Mihai Sigmaringen of Moldavia in the 1800s, watches helplessly as his mother is murdered by an evil witch. An older Mihai realizes that he lives in country with real monsters, and the modernization and unification of Romania is the only way to rid Eastern Europe of these ancient evils. Cardin writes, “He had a future to fulfill… He would modernize the country and drive out such beings as witches and werewolves that would have the rest of the world think his country as uncultured.”
But the ancient evil persists, and Mihai’s best friend Victor, who he met in England while attending university, is bitten by a werewolf. When the beast overcomes the man, Victor’s werewolf nature invades his humanity and he betrays Mihai.
Mihai makes his own betrayals: to see his plans reach fruition he submits to an arranged marriage to the Lady Theresa von Kracken, even though Alexandra, his gold-digging mistress from London, is pregnant with his baby. Theresa believes that Mihai is the prince that her precognitive dreams had shown her as a child.
After the death of his father, Mihai is crowned King and Theresa becomes his queen. Like Lancelot and Guinevere who betray King Arthur’s trust, Victor has his way with Queen Theresa—the difference being Victor drugs Theresa and takes advantage of her vulnerability. Unlike Guinevere, she never stops being deeply in love with her husband.
The story turns desperate as King Mihai relentlessly drags a reluctant Moldavia into a modern age, even while chthonic forces attempt to pull Moldavia out of enlightenment and back into the darkness of magic, fear and superstition.
Cardin has provided a Q and A session as well as deleted scenes and discussion issues. Readers that enjoy fast-paced novels with some scares and mystery will find themselves waiting impatiently for a sequel to this historical and supernatural romance.
Reviewed by Lee Gooden
The Wolf’s Torment
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/07)
“The Wolf’s Torment” takes you into Moldavia in the 1800s. Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen is engaged to wed Theresa, a woman of royal blood, whom he has never met. He has also just discovered that his lover is pregnant. When he learns that she has been deceiving him about her feelings for him, he tries to shut his emotions off. Returning home to Moldavia, and trying to do the right thing, he takes her with him to live near the castle. He also brings his trusted friend Viktor with him.
When he meets his future bride, he realizes that she is a true treasure. Neither he nor his bride is aware that she comes from a lineage of witches. Still she seems to have some magical talents. This disturbs Mihai, because his mother was killed by a witch. When Viktor is bitten by a werewolf, he turns to Mihai for help. Viktor complicates matters by having feelings for Theresa. At times he finds himself unable to control the animal in him. He also begins losing his humanity. He is no longer someone to be trusted.
S.G. Cardin has created a wonderful werewolf story. She also involves witches and vampires. In this book, werewolves have special and complicated ties to vampires and witches. Moldavia is rich in supernatural lore. Placing this story here, adds to the mysteriousness of the country. The plot involves intriguing elements that include deception, greed, lust, and betrayal. The key characters Mihai and Theresa are honorable and have good hearts. What makes the story really interesting is how the people around them commit heinous acts to try to deceive them. They catch themselves falling into traps set for them. Sometimes it is too late.
I really enjoyed “The Wolf’s Torment.” It is refreshing to read a novel that is different from the standard supernatural tales. Taking away the supernatural elements, the underlying story is still really interesting. Cardin puts you inside the heads of her characters and makes you feel their torment. I look forward to the sequel. Do not miss this one.
This past weekend I was taken away to Moldavia. The Wolf's Torment had me from the beginning to the end. A book set in Romania in the 1800 during a time of political change. It is a region of the world that was still hanging on to old mystics ways. The country was struggling to merge with the modern world. With the taint of witches, gypsies, vampires and werewolves they had a lot to overcome.
Mihai, the hero, struggles with coming of age, becoming a husband, father and king. The prologue tell us of how he lost his mother and we learn from the very beginning how strong he is. We learn to love the man he is trying to become, for himself, his parents, his wife and his country.
Theresa, Mihai's arranged marriage, struggles with her own set of torments. She must deal with her husband coping with his life as well as the consequences of his past. There are also secrets to her past that she will try to unravel.
Viktor's journey is the one of the wolf. He is Mihai best friend and boarding school comrade. His transformation after the bite of a werewolf is one that rivets the reader. It will keep you wondering what will happen next. He struggles with the man he is and the werewolf he becomes every full moon. This affects all that know him. You keep reading to know if he will overcome all his torments.
The Wolf's Torment is definitely a page turner. You do not want to put it down. It is one of those stories that is written with the skill that will pull you in. S.G. Cardin draws you into the surroundings and to the characters lives. She spins an excellent tale that leaves you feeling like you are actually in the 1800s in Moldavia. Definitely a good read. It is a book that I highly recommend.