In the second novel of the Wargs Trilogy, we find Dr. Matthew Kershaw and the residents of Misty Hollow engaged in a desperate fight for survival. While Matt Struggles to assemble a team to deal with the rising threat posed by the human-warg hybrids, Dr. Bertram is racing to develop a cure for the transgenic virus. Unknown to Matt and the others, the threat against them is much more ominous than anyone can imagine. Behind the warg threat is a sinister plot by a rogue colonel and his band of human-warg hybrids who are intent on establishing dominion over the indigenous warg packs. With the wargs under his control, the colonel plans on unleashing a reign of terror upon the residents of Misty Hollow and then the population at large outside the valley. Can Matt, Victor and their team uncover the plot in time to stop it before it's to late? Can Dr. Bertram develop a cure for the virus before it can be exploited by some other group?
The Guru's Review:
I read Wargs: Curse of Misty Hollow (Book 1) earlier this year. I read it for a variety of reasons, it had a great story line, it featured human/animal hybrids, which scientists are trying to bring to fruition in this day and age and that this is similar to what the Bible says will happen in the days before Jesus returns in that just like in the days of Noah where the fallen angels bred between humans and animals. I did not have time to leave a review which annoyed me immensely, but decided I definitely would with Books 2 and 3. I did not know that the author was a Christian as in Book 1, there is no hint of this or any Christian content that was obvious to me but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and the author was spot on with his research into animal/human hybrids.
It was while reading book 3 that I began to notice that the author introduced Christian themes and the social, ethical, and spiritual issues related to the creation of human/animal hybrids. Well, my spiritual radar was on full alert and I mentioned in my review of Book 3, Outcast, that I would not be surprised if the author had some belief in God to have done this. I contacted him and this is what he had to say,
In the trilogy there is a strategy behind the perceived absence of a spiritual orientation in the early part of the story (book one)... then as the struggle takes on an evil, sinister tone, the people begin to turn to God. You will recall in Book 2, Wargs: Dominion, when Matt's mother, grandmother, and great uncle visit Graymere for the Holidays that his Grandmother questions the absence of a church. Then when Uncle Charlie offers to host services the locals came out of the woodwork to attend. There is an undertone of silent fear, absence of spiritual leadership, and challenged faith that is working in the background. This all comes to the forefront in book three as the people of Misty Hollow come face-to-face with the realities of their "curse" and find that the real evil is MAN who exploits what God and nature have ordained and what was once in harmony, but now exploited for nefarious purposes. The books have much more spiritual depth from beginning to end than most people will catch on the first reading, but which I hope they will figure out at some point.
So what I thought at first glance was just a good, clean entertaining read, became so much more and I am so glad to have been introduced to this author's novels. I loved the first novel, Curse of Misty Hollow, which was very effective in setting the stage on all accounts for the continuation of this story and Dominion takes off very nicely from this predecessor. Rutherford further builds on characterisation, plot, and pace, in fact, this latter is faster and the plot has more twists and turns which only makes this sequel all the better than the first.
If any reader wondered what would happen after finishing Curse of Misty Hollow, I don't think they would have been prepared for lays in store for them in this sequel. Everything is ramped up and it is taken to the next level as any sequel should. One thing that I loved being ramped up was more focus on the wargs and their integration not only into the plot but into the lives Matt's team and the Misty Hollow community, becoming an integrated war machine, thwarting the warped plan of Livingston and his minions. Bringing in a new character, Dani, and her skills both in military and veterinarian wolf science also helped in this new plot development and her introduction and use of her skills bridged the gap between the wargs and the human barriers. One could not help but become attached to Fenrir and Skoll and their relationship with Dani and Matt.
Rutherford seems to love romance and this reader does not like this as a genre but when it is introduced as a subplot, I am one happy camper! I would rather have romance included like this by a male author than a female one, I always find it refreshing coming from male authors! Looks like I will have to wait for Wargs: Outcast to see what happens to Freya and Matt now that their relationship has been taken to the next level and how a newly formed relationship between two other characters develops. I loved how Rutherford has not kept this romance apart from the main plot of both novels but has used it to added more suspense and plot twists. Makes for one very cohesive plot and integrated on all levels.
In novels like this where there is a lot of medical science and jargon, it is easy for a reader to become lost and skim over this information and therefore lose the connection between this and how it forms a backbone to the plot. This can be unfortunate as this is not what the author intended but where an author's shortcomings effect the novel and its reader negatively. It must be quite a challenge to successfully avoid this pitfall and Rutherford shines here. He does not bog the reader down with a lot genetic science but integrates it into the plot and events so that the reader is very much engaged and understands how this science affects the plot and the warg/human hybrids as well as how viruses change a being's genome. It is what every author needs to do in writing a novel; showing the reader rather than telling. The former engages them, while the latter disconnects them. From Rutherford's Goodreads profile it is stated that he “.....attempts to create science fiction novels that blur the line between modern science and science fiction...”. Well, Rutherford definitely does this and one wonders how much of what he portrays in this series is based on modern genetics or transgenics and what is not! The lines are definitely blurred. There is no compromising as an author on conducting and manipulating research into a well-crafted novel!
When I read Curse of Misty Hollow, I noticed how skillfully Rutherford created the environment of Misty Hollow and it surrounds, its buildings, the Inn (Wolf's Lair), and how the reader is transported there and can picture all this in the reader's imagination. Rutherford further expands on this in this second novel and I must say from all this, that he is one very competent worldbuilder. As I read both novels, I became immersed in this environment and feel as if I have been there to the point where I wanted to believe that such a place as Misty Hollow exists.
I am looking forward to reading Outcast as this was just released as I finished Dominion so I have the pleasure of not having the wait in between novels. Love it when this happens!
Rutherford is one very clever author who not only entertains but also educates in the topic that forms one of the backbones of his novels, in this case, transgenics.
Highly Recommended 5 Stars