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Literature / Wolf Breed

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Wolfbreed is a novel by SA Swann about a girl named Lilly who makes a gruesome escape from her captors. During her escape, she receives head trauma and develops an innocent split personality. Shortly after her escape a boy named Udolf finds her and brings her home. As the novel progresses we find out that the girl is in fact connected with the boy's horrific past.

Wolfbreed was, as you may have guessed from its premise, inspired by Elfen Lied. However, the author actually gives credit to the original work. Despite it having a considerably happier ending, it's every bit as violent and gory as its counterpart.

The second book in the series, Wolf's Cross, is a little more original. Maria, a 16-year-old servant in a Polish fortress, witnesses the arrival of a party of Teutonic knights, warrior monks, who are battered and beaten. Seeking refuge after a horrible defeat, they surrender their weapons, which, surprisingly enough, are edged in silver. Maria is assigned to care for Josef, who is not expected to survive his wounds. One night when heading home from the fortress, she is attacked by a stable hand and rescued by revenge-seeking wolfbreed Darien, who comes out of the woods and displays super strength. When he gets her to remove the silver cross her father and stepmother have insisted she wear her entire life, she discovers that she is a wolfbreed.


This series contains examples of:

  • A God Am I: Darien. Also, the old Prussian pagans revered the Wolfbreed as gods and that went to some of their heads. Not to mention it was guaranteed to push The Teutonic Knights' Berserk Button.
  • Anti-Villain: Many of The Teutonic Knights are shown to be kind and just people. Lilly manages to get out of her cell mainly because her guard is something of a romantic idealist. Even Landkomtur Erhad, head of the Super Soldier program, cares for his charges, tries to fight the Kill Them All edict on the Wolfbreed, genuinely cares for his men and is definitely concerned for the safety of the peasants in the immediate area of Lilly's escape.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Erhard spends most of the first book as one of the most sympathetic members of the Teutonic Knights, conflicted between his own personal moral and his loyalty to his religion. When Lilly kills him, you do actually feel sad for him.
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  • The Atoner- I think Lilly might just be everyone's favorite German war criminal.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name- The Teutonic knights. The conduct of the Teutonic knights during the northern crusade was actually surprisingly civil for the medieval period. It certainly didn't include: horrific human experimentation, attempts to breed super soldiers or using child soldiers to massacre half the civilian populace of every conquered village. These Teutonic knights seemed much more like Sergei Eisenstein's Teutonic knights IE obvious Nazis. Semyon and Erhard seemed much like medieval counterparts to Mengele and Heydrich respectively. The wolfbreed division were like the 13th century equivalent of an elite SS unit. During Operation Werewolf the real SS were supposed to slip behind enemy lines and slaughtered the opponent in a very similar manner to the wolfbreed.
  • Attempted Rape: A group of soldiers try to rape Lilly and Darien tries to rape Maria.
  • Badass Army: The Teutonic Knights. By the second book they even have a specially trained group of soldiers known as the Wolfjägers who hunt and kill werewolves with swords!
  • Blatant Lies: Josef's explanation to Telek and Heinrich about why Maria is an ordinary human girl towards the end of the second book after showing them Darien's flayed skin to prove he was dead. The thing is both Heinrich and Telek know he's lying. Heinrich wants to kill Maria but he doesn't have proof to contradict Josef's story. Telek, however, has already come to the conclusion that werewolves aren't inherently evil, that Maria is innocent and that having her around might prove useful in the near future. So he promptly tells Heinrich to get the hell off his land.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Subverted, many of the more deeply religious characters are shown to be intelligent and well-educated. Not to mention the Church takes a pretty scientific approach to studying the Wolfbreeds at first, and move to the classic "spawn of Satan" explanation later for political reasons rather than out of any real superstition.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Harm anyone Maria or Josef cares about, and you die screaming.
  • Break the Cutie: Lilly is pre-broken the first time we meet her. Then we get to see some of her childhood in flashbacks. See Child Soldiers and The Spartan Way for more details.
    • Averted with Maria in the sequel. She is pretty idealistic, compassionate and carefree at the start of her story. She gets put through the ringer but manages to come out with that idealism and love of humanity still fairly intact. Played straight with Darien as his flashback chapter starts with the phrase: Twenty-two years ago, when he was a child, Darien hadn’t hated anyone at all. But then his stupidity and impulsiveness starts to wreck his life and it goes downhill fairly quickly.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Done to Lilly with a crossbow. She gets better. She is a Lucy Expy — what do you expect?
  • Child Soldiers: Lilly is killing Prussian Pagan soldiers for the Order by the time she is eight!
  • Church Militant: The one, the only, the original Teutonic Knights!
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: The wolfbreed have one in their healing factor. Unless they are either holding, wearing or been wounded by silver they will heal any injury that doesn't destroy the head or the heart very quickly. This is how Josef and the Knights find out about what Maria really is.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Lilly versus just about everybody else. Considering that she is a werewolf trained from birth to be a Super Soldier, it is kind of justified.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Udolf, as you can probably guess he is Kouta's Expy so he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Do we need to elaborate on Lilly?
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Polish nobility comes to the conclusion that werewolves are simply different but not evil. Of course, Maria's meeting with Wojewoda Telek at the end of the second book implies they intend to use the wolfbreed themselves, specifically Maria and her offspring, for similar purposes like the Teutonic Order tried to but they are gonna be much nicer about it then the Order was.
  • Doomed Hometown: Darien. He is responsible for it, too.
  • Expy: Lilly is Lucy and the first book is pretty much Elfen Lied in The Middle Ages With WEREWOLVES!.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Darien is a werewolf — in other words walking, talking proof of the supernatural, living in one of the most religious times in Europe. Doesn't believe in any human religion.
  • Freudian Excuse: Darien did something very stupid that leads to the death of his parents, entire family, and his entire home town. Rather then accept the blame for his actions he projects his self-loathing onto humanity as a whole.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Maria is put in charge of caring for a badly wounded Teutonic soldier named Josef, who is very much a literal Knight in Shining Armor. Three guesses on what happens. Also, when Udolf finds Lilly wounded in the first book you can easily guess whats going to happen.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Darien. He is proud of the fact that he is a werewolf, thinks werewolves are superior to humans and fully indulges in his animalistic side.
  • God Is Evil: Lilly's view on the matter. Maria, however, remains a devout Christian throughout the entire book.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The Teutonic Knights are not angels, but when you look at how some of the Wolfbreed like Darien act .you can understand where they are coming from.
  • The High Middle Ages: The time period the stories take place in.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Teutonic Knights didn't exactly use child soldiers or perform human experimentation in real life.
  • Hate Sink: Bishop Cecilio in book 1. The man acts consistantly obnoxious, insists on treating the Wolfbreed as spawns of Satan, tries to lead a purge in an already christianized country, and it soon becomes obvious all of this is just an excuse and what he really is trying to do is to turn the country into his own private land. He does get a Pet the Dog moment at the end, but for the most part, he remains a very unsympathetic character.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Darien believes this. Maria and Lilly don't.
  • Identity Amnesia: Guess.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Darien views ordinary humans as being in the same category as deer and cows.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Darien has this affliction bad. To take just one example, after forcing Maria on a romp through the forest with him, and trying to force himself upon her, she sneaks away while he's asleep and runs back home; forgetting to take her silver cross along with her in the rush of trying to get away from his ass. Darien wakes up, sees her clothes gone and sees the cross still there, immediately comes to the conclusion she has gone to kill her human family, whom she has been incredibly protective of the entire book, as opposed to getting away from his Yandere ass. Then there is his little attempt to make her see that Humans Are Bastards. How exactly did he come to the conclusion that framing her for murder and turning the local garrison against her and her family will make her hate humanity as opposed to his ass?
  • Love Triangle: Maria, Darien, and Josef.
  • Kill Them All: The Teutonic Knights Plan B for dealing with the Wolfbreed if the Super Soldier program doesn't work out.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Josef, very much so. It is the main reason Maria starts to fall in love with him; well that and the Florence Nightingale Effect. Some of the other Teutonic Knights...not so much.
  • Knight Templar: The Teutonic Knights actually do mean well for the most part. It's just that some are pretty damn ruthless, and others… well, let's just say Brother Seymon needs to work on the chastity part of his vows a bit more.
  • Mook Horror Show: Lilly's rampages, when told from the perspective of her victims.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: How does Darien try and convince Maria Humans Are Bastards? By framing her for murder! And he does so in such a way that Maria and just about every major character figures out that he is really responsible for the killings in about two seconds!
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Darien's thoughts on Josef and Maria.
  • Never My Fault: Another affliction that Darien has pretty damn bad. For example, when walking through his recently razed hometown he keeps screaming at the burned corpses it wasn't his fault, he didn't lead The Teutonic Knights to the village. Of course, he is responsible and he did lead their army to the village and deep down he knows this but refuses to admit it.
  • The Nose Knows: Wolfbreed have a powerful sense of smell even within human form. For example, Darien is able to tell that Maria is another werewolf just by scent while both are in their human forms and having just met each other.
  • No Social Skills: Darien lived a very sheltered childhood, raised in a culture that viewed themselves as being more wolf than human and then lived in the wilds by himself for several years. As a result, he doesn't understand Maria's emotions and conversations and interactions between him and her are all about dominance and submission. Maria is very put off about this, and it is one of the big reasons that she ends siding with Josef in the love triangle.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Whenever any of the werewolves shapeshift into their man-wolf or dire-wolf forms somebody has this reaction.
    • Telek and Josef have this reaction when they see that Maria's face heals up pretty damn quickly from Heinrich's blows.
    • Heinrich has this reaction when Telek name-drops Brother Seymon; showing that he knows the Order didn't always consider the wolfbreed demonic and that the demonic label is there less because the werewolves are inherently evil and more because the Order is trying to hide its own sordid past.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Wolfbreed are man-wolf/dire wolf shapeshifters, and can change at will without any need of a full moon. They also retain both their human intelligence and the ability to speak while shapeshifted, and both of their forms share an insanely powerful Healing Factor. Silver doesn't automatically kill them, but it does cancel said Healing Factor, allowing to cause them durable damages when they would otherwise recover from anything except decapitation and heart removal. Finally, they don't seem to transmit their ability through bite, instead reproducing and breeding like any living species.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Wojewoda Telek. He's probably the most level-headed and competent commander in either book. He also recognizes that Maria was innocent and tried to stop Darien. He repays her by kicking the Order troops out of his lands, gives her back her silver cross and tells her in a not-so-subtle way that he might have need of her special talents in the near future.
  • Shown Their Work: You can tell SA Swann did quite a bit of research on Prussia during the Late Middle Ages.
  • Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Maria sides with Josef and humanity and helps kill Darien.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Elfen Lied.
  • Super Soldier: What The Teutonic Knights originally tried to use the Wolfbreed for. As you can probably guess it doesn't work out too well for them for a number of reasons.
  • The Spartan Way: How the Teutonic Order turns the Wolfbreed children into elite commandos.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Karl, Lilly's attempted rapist. When we first meet him he is thinking about how he lost a golden opportunity by not killing his father and brothers.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: It's based on Elfen Lied so guess who.
  • Technical Virgin: A really disturbing case; because of their Healing Factor, female Wolfbreed keep regenerating their hymen even after mating, meaning they always "recover" their virginity. Unfortunately, Brother Seymon, who fantasises virgins, figured that out and takes advantage on it by regularly raping them.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Maria in the second book.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Darien. Let's see what acts of stupidity he has committed:
    • Disobeys his parents' orders not to let anyone outside the village know he is a werewolf or run around in daylight. Which promptly leads to the Knights finding out about the village and razing it to the ground
    • Picks a fight with about thirty Wolfjägers all by his lonesome. Bad enough that he picks a fight with an elite unit of a Badass Army but this unit has been specifically armed and trained to kill werewolves. Than the dumbass has the gall to act surprised when they seriously wound and nearly kill him.
    • Expects Maria to love him and leave her human family behind and run off with him simply because they are both werewolves. When, of course, she doesn't he gets all pissy.
    • Frames Maria for murder, and does it in such a way that she knows he did it, in an attempt to make her think Humans Are Bastards though why he thinks this particular course of action would make her hate humanity as opposed to him is never really explained.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Lilly, hey she is a Lucy Expy did you expect The Pollyanna? Darien also fits the bill.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A measure of some debate among Christian leaders and to be expected since you have a book series dealing with werewolves. Some, like Josef and the Polish Nobility, feel they are worthy of salvation as any other human. The Teutonic Order...not so much, especially considering the results of their Super Soldier program. Even one Polish Noble remarks the Order's problems stemmed from the fact they had something that was a man and they treated it as less than a man.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Knights go after Maria simply because she is a werewolf even though she is one of the better characters in the series morally-speaking.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Polish Nobles were the ones who originally asked the Teutonic Order to intervene against Pagan Prussians. Fast forward one hundred years the Teutonic Order controls all of Prussia and has become a major regional military power and the Poles are starting to wonder if they simply traded one enemy for a more powerful, nastier enemy. Note this really happened in history. And even though the Poles team up with the Knights there is still quite a bit of mistrust and power plays going on behind the scenes.
  • Yandere: I'm looking at you Darien.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Church originally considers the Wolfbreed to be temporal animals that can be trained and used and therefore gives the Teutonic Order the go ahead to use them in their Super Soldier program. Unfortunately, the program proves to be more successful then previously thought possible and significantly increases the Order's power and territory. The other Christian leaders become fearful that the Order might raise an entire army of Wolfbreed instead of a group of commandos and use it against them. So they convince the Pope to order the project terminated.
  • Warrior Monk: Most Teutonic soldiers fall into this category.


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