Autumnal Equinox 2003






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by Steven E. Wedel
Review by Shannon Riley
Review for Autumn 2003

Shara by Steven E. Wede;
3F Publications
Trade Paperback
375 pages
ISBN 0-9729309-1-4


By Shannon Riley

Shara is a troubled young woman as she enters college. The victim of date rape by her high school sweetheart, with parents who are cold and distant, Shara, shy and afraid, is befriended by her biology instructor, Professor Ulrik.

Josef Ulrick offers Shara a rare Gift, a Gift that will give her power and confidence, but Ulrick has a secret of his own. He is a centuries-old werewolf, and his Gift, to make Shara one of his kind, will change her life more than she could ever imagine.

Shara, herself, possesses an unexpected Gift, which may also prove to be a curse. She is the only werewolf able to give birth -- to reproduce without blood violence. And while some members of the pack hail her as savior, others want only to destroy her.

Steven E. Wedel, an award-winning journalist and author, has written a hauntingly wild and beautiful story of a woman's struggle to survive. An outcast from both the human race and the Pack, Shara is caught between two worlds, where normal existence and love and family seem not an option.

Mr. Wedel's polished prose, vivid characterizations and brilliantly detailed settings bring this novel to life. His extensive knowledge of wolves and werewolf lore adds rich texture to this fast-paced thriller. The suspense seems, at times overwhelming as we see Shara fight to protect her young and to live in a world where she no longer belongs. Shara's weaknesses are the weakness of the human condition, and serve only to make her a more accessible and sympathetic character. Her strength is her refusal to give up, even against the worst adversity.

Yet while the spotlight is on Shara, other important characters in the novel are Ulrick and the Pack, which is always nearby, waiting and watching, just out of sight. An undercurrent of power and dark intention runs just beneath the story's surface. "The Pack is gathering ...," Ulrik tells Shara, and the reader is constantly aware of the implications of what is yet to come.

Wedel first introduced readers to Ulrik through the eight stories featured in his chapbook Call to the Hunt, published by Moonhowler Press, 2001. With them, the author revitalized the werewolf legend, giving it new strength and vitality and bringing it back to life in a way that made lovers of traditional horror glad. Shara furthers the legend, adding rich details and nuances made possible by the novel's wider scope.

Steve E. Wedel, author of Darkscapes, a collection of short stories published in 2002, has proven he is a writer worth watching. With Shara, he bursts onto the horror scene with raw power and vision, reshaping an age-old legend and giving it new life and meaning.

I am pleased to give Shara my highest recommendation, and look forward with much anticipation to future work by this talented author.


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Autumnal Equinox 2003, Updated October 24, 2003

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