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Literature / The Wolf Gift

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The Wolf Gift is a novel written by Anne Rice. A sequel, The Wolves of Midwinter, was released October 15, 2013.

It is about Reuben Golding, a young reporter working for the San Francisco Observer, who is assigned to write a sales article about a magnificent, historical family home. Marchent, the woman who owns the home, is friendly and beautiful. Reuben is attracted to both her and the home almost instantly, despite having a fiance. They make love, then disaster strikes and they are attacked, first by robbers, and then by what Reuben believes is a wild dog.

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Tropes

  • The Ageless: Morphenkinder apparently don't age physically.
  • Asshole Victim: Morphenkinder are compelled to kill evil people, so their victims are practically always this. A special mention goes to the people who remorselessly kidnapped and held hostage an entire bus of children and teachers, asking for ransom and killing a child each time their demand wasn't met, with the implication they would have eventually killed all of them anyway. Reuben inflicts them one of the most gruesome death in the book, and you do not feel sorry for them.
  • Berserk Button: For Reuben and the other Morphenkinder, the scent of evil drives them crazy.
  • Healing Factor: While werewolves lack the invulnerability to everything but silver in this version, they still heal spectacularly fast, to the point killing them requires to inflict a lot of damages in a short period of time.
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  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They call themselves Morphenkinder, and originated from a prehistoric human subspecies whose gift was replicated by an exiled homo sapiens king through experiments. They change every night, unrelated to the phase of the moon, although with time they can learn to control the change. It is passed along by bite through something they call the "Chrism", and results in a Wolf Man form. Morphenkinder are attracted to evil people and driven to destroy them, while they usually find killing innocent repulsive. Silver has no particular effect on them, and they can be killed by normal weapons, but it takes a lot of damage delivered in a short period of time, or they heal it. Even in human form their senses of hearing and smell are very sharp but increase in the wolf form.
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  • No Body Left Behind: Morphenkinder's dead body tissues decompose at an accelerated rate until there is basically nothing to recover from it. This is the reason their existence has so far eluded humans- they just don't leave enough behind to make DNA tests.
  • Painful Transformation: Inverted. It is apparently very enjoyable, to the point Reuben tends to eagerly wait for it.
  • Pretty Boy: Reuben's peers call him "Sunshine boy" because of his smile and good looks.
  • Transformation Sequence: Reuben watches himself change in the mirror.
  • The Virus: Downplayed; the Chrism is passed through bites as usually is the case with werewolves, but it's made clear this only happens in very specific conditions, and has a small chance of killing you instead.
  • Wolf Man: Reuben's wolf form is explicitly named this, and described as looking like a humanoid with lupine features.
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