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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearny

The Wolf in the Attic
by Paul Kearney
May 5th 2016 by Solaris
Paperback, 320 pages

A novel that will enchant readers of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. The fantastical appears in the middle of 1920's Oxford as a young refugee looking to escape her grim reality rubs shoulders with two of the founding fathers of modern fantasy, Tolkien and Lewis.

1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien... and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them.

Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer's wine-dark sea.

But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.

That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.

Looking for a more classic take on werewolves and witches? Want to get back to a simpler time and place with another view of the relationship between 'were's, witches and demon hunters? This book delivers that and does a great job of giving an understandable explanation.

This is not a PNR, just a story of a 12 year old orphan from Greece, relocated to England, and her discovery of things that go "bump in the night". Seasonings of old world culture brings this story to light for the reader. You can visualize the community and it's inhabitants, easily placing yourself in the streets of Oxford, England in the 1920's.

A very resourceful and adventurous 12 year old that has lived in relative solitude since fleeing Greece with her father at the age of 5, her only comfort being books and her doll "Pie", wishes only to have a great adventure. In this book her wishes are definitely granted! Don't despair as you question the genre of the first (almost) half of the book. It doesn't read as a paranormal but builds the setting and background for what is to come for Anna.

A wondrous adventure with great writing and story structure. I loved the literary quotes that headlined each chapter. I think they captured the essence of the storyline quite well. A must read for those who like a little history of the original "paranormals" and don't need a lot of romance to keep their attention.

I give this 4 1/2 "gypsy" sheep!


About the Author:
Paul Kearney is the critically-acclaimed author of The Monarchies of God and the Sea Beggars series. He has been long-listed for the British Fantasy Award. In the eight years subsequent to the publication of The Way to Babylon, Kearney lived in Copenhagen, New Jersey, and Cambridgeshire, but at present he makes his home a stone's throw from the sea in County Down, with his wife, two dogs, a beat-up old boat, and far too many books.


  1. Replies
    1. Not really knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised to be swept along with the story.