Wolfhoundnote "Волкодав", Volkodav in Russian is a series of a Low Fantasy novels by a Russian fantasy and Historical Fiction author Maria Semyonova.He was condemned to death, but survived to wreak revenge for the murder of his clan. The last member of the clan of the Grey Hounds became a fearless warrior by the name of Wolfhound. After cheating death in the mines, Wolfhound sets out on a journey with his constant companion, the Earthbound Bat. Wolfhound has but one desire – to destroy the Maneater, a merciless warrior who slaughtered the village of the Grey Hounds.After making the long journey to the Maneater’s castle, Wolfhound finally conquers his archenemy. He doesn't hope or want to survive, but fate, it seems, has other plans for him. He frees two prisoners, the sage Tilorn and slave-girl Niilith and travels with them to the city of Galirad, where the king is giving his daughter away in political marriage to a young warlord Vinitar.The king's daughter Princess Elen must travel to the land of her new husband, and asks Wolfhound to be her guard in this long and dangerous journey. Wolfhound agrees to serve the princess and is caught up in a whirlwind of unexpected events...The second book explores new adventures of Wolfhound and his long-time companion, the young scholar Eurych. The third and the fourth books see Wolfhound eventually finding his way back to the Jewel Mountains, the hellish slave mine he had once escaped from, to destroy this place once and for all.In 2006, Russia had produced a film of the book under the title Wolfhound of the Clan of Grey Houndsnote "Волкодав из рода Серых Псов", Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov.
All Myths Are True: A result of Wolfhound's spiritual progress. He never abandons his pagan beliefs, despite actually meeting (supposedly) real figures of the Twins' faith, such as their Mother, burying the Junior Twin's body by his own hands, and experiencing a mystical vision of their Father, Eternal and Unborn. At the same time he does turn into a were-dog, and later restarts his clan just as their legends describe it. He reconciles it in the syncretic belief system which is best described by the trope's name.
Appropriated Appelation: Having never received a proper name, Wolfhound went by as Pup and later Dog in the slave mines. After he challenged and killed an overseer called Wolf, he was given his current moniker by the cheering slaves.
The Haryuks are a straight example, even from Wolfhound's, quite liberal, point of view. The are secluded, backwater and most likely inbred.
The Beastmaster: Wolfhound with dogs, young Wolf with, naturally, wolves, and all other Venns with their clan animals. The "master" part is subverted though, as the Venns regard their clan animals as relatives, not as servants. At one point villains sic a pack of hounds at Wolfhound. He subdues the hounds and muses that he could turn them against their owners, but doesn't do it, as it would devastate the dogs.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Wolfhound. Saving girls from rapists? Check. Freeing prisoners? Check. Helping people reunite with their long-lost relatives? Check. Fighting to death to protect others? Check. Stopping a war between two tribes? Check. Saving a drowning puppy? Check!
Church Militant: Twins Church most emphatically doesn't condemn violence, which is only kinda logical, given that the Senior was a warrior. They simply believe that it should be measured and just.
Wolfhound is more the latter than the former, but his love for reading in Books 3 & 4 does wonders to his manner of speech and even thinking.
Vinitar, an educated and progressive leader and warlord.
Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Wolfhound has quite a knack for delivering threats, like "You say a single foul word to her and I'll tie a knot on your tongue. Around your neck" or "Tell this disgrace to his kin, this scum-sired bastard, that if he doesn't shut his rotten mouth, he will choke on his own guts". He also makes it clear that he's perfectly capable and willing to go through with them.
The Don: Sonmor, originally a petty thief in a Narlak city of Condar, who organized the defense of the city during the major war. He was later executed, but his name became a title of the city's (and later whole Narlak and more) underworld leader. The current Sonmor and his heir are more of Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters than anything.
Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted. Wolfhound is fully intent to do just this in the Jewel Mountains - and he does, but the Gods don't let him die as a reward for his epic deed.
Human Aliens: It is revealed that the story takes place on another planet (although very similar to Earth), and there is even an actual Earthling present.
Incurable Cough of Death: One of the dreaded consequences of slaving in the Jewel Mountains. It is even more literal than most examples, since a violent fit of cough is a clear indication to the overseers that the slave can no longer work and must be replaced. Wolfhound had it mostly cured, but it tends to surface up when he's in distress.
Low Fantasy: The action is explicitly set on an another planet with Human Aliens, the world is gritty and realistic, and the explicit magic doesn't play a major role in the series. It's just that some people can do something that has no scientific explanations, and some mystical experiences are probably real. Maybe.
Mark of the Beast: assassins from a death cult bear a tattoo in the form of an inverted solar symbol, a mark of the Death Goddess Morana.
Never Mess with Granny: Vinitar's grandmother Angran has lived 20 years on a cold, barren desert of an island alone, then took 70 badass Vikings under her wing in a blink of an eye and sailed away to the other side of the world to find her grandson. Don't mess with this granny indeed.
Note that she was very old even before she was left on the island. By the books time she should be no less than a centenarian.
Ahem, only not really. She wasn't always alone. She had her Friend, Mother of The Twins, with her.
Never Learned to Read: Wolfhound in the first book. He hasn't had a chance to learn in his native village, and the mines weren't really the place that promoted the literacy. Mother Kendarat actually offered to teach him during their travels, but he refused as he believed that it wasn't pertaining to his plans. After he got his revenge, on the other hand... Having been ridiculed as a dumb barbarian by Eurych, he asked Niilith to teach him and by the end of the first book he was able to at least parse the Venn/Solvenn language. By the second book, a couple of years later, Wolfhound was already literate in most of the languages he knew, and became a voracious, if still somewhat overawed, reader.
No Name Given: "Wolfhound" is not his real name, just a nickname given to him in the mines. In fact, his village was attacked on the very night he would receive his true name, so he never got it in the first place.
Same with Little Doe (Оленюшка), whose personal name we never know, only her clan's name.
Old Master: Mother Kendarat, a rare female example.
Omniglot: Because the book's world has a lively international trade and active people migration (to the point that even the shipping lines with regular schedules are starting to appear), it has quite a number of people fluent, or at least getting by, in numerous languages.
Surprizingly to many, Wolfhound, who is fluent (and, by the second book, literate) in no less than five or six languages, and probably more, most of them picked up in the mines.
Eurych, being the quintessential Renaissance man — physician, geographer, rhetor, engineer, even a bit of a mage — has little problem with languages as well.
Precocious Crush: Little Doe obviously had an enormous crush on Wolfhound ever since they first met — when she was eleven — and bore the torch to the very end.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: a verbal example. Venns forbid themselves to kill somebody they've talked to (there are exclusions, but the rule is usually upheld). So when Wolfhound starts deliberately talking to you via a proxy, it is a good sign to either drastically change your attitude to the better or start running really fast (although the latter will hardly help).
Stern Teacher: Wolfhound, when teaching kan-kiro in the Tin-Vilena fortress.
Tempting Fate: Subverted. A horrible war that had broken out some time before the events of the books, was dubbed "The Last War", however, unlike World War I, not because they though there wouldn't be any more wars, but because it was so bad everybody thought that the end of the word is near.
Too Kinky to Torture: According to Wolfhound, the Death Cult assassins are impossible to interrogate - they'd just praise their goddess for suffering and death.
Tranquil Fury: The Venns believe that a true warrior should never lose his composure, and that falling into rage makes you vulnerable, so Wolfhound's most dangerous mode is this.
Trial by Combat: Many times, since in-universe it's the most popular way of solving tangled problems.
Warrior Poet: Deksha, the one-eyed former baker and Galirad's militia commander. Later becomes famous as a poet in-universe.
Warrior Prince: Vinitar, even though he doesn't have a country: his island is covered by a glacier, his father's atrocities left him without the land on the shore as well, and by the late books he lost his post in the hidden land of Velimor as well. The only things he has for him are his noble birth, his men, and his character. Which is quite enough, actually.
Wolfhound and Tuft the Wolf (Wolf the younger) as well.
Would Not Hit a Girl: Wolfhound was born in a matriarchal tribe and holds women in great respect. He makes the only exception when he kills a female slave driver-turned-assassin.
You Killed My Father: Subverted. First time they meet, Vinitar lets Wolfhound go because Honor Commands Him, and on their second encounter... well, let's say that the circumstances absolve him from the duty of revenge.
Younger than They Look: Wolfhound looks about 40 because of his beard, scars and half-gray hair. He's actually 23 in the first book and just about 30 in the last one.