Friday, March 30, 2012
The Sight by David Clement-Davies
A wolf pack living in Transylvania, led by the alpha male Huttser and his mate, Palla, is haunted by the unwelcome presence of Palla’s ostracized sister, Morgra, a lone wolf who travels with a raven on a journey to wield the dark arts and harness the power of the Sight, the ability to see into the minds of other animals, and to see the future. By contrast, the pack maintains belief in the ancient wolf gods, Tor and Fenris. Two pups are born to Huttser and Palla: the snow-white Larka and her black-furred brother, Fell; a birth that sets into motion an ancient prophecy that spells doom for the pack and an all-encompassing crisis of faith and survival for all animals in nature, merging the worlds of man and beast and blurring the line between the living and the dead.
Far more than just a fantasy involving wolves, The Sight takes on social issues that are relevant to human society as well, such as the way evildoers like Morgra are driven to violence by bigotry and alienation, and how belief in a higher power has equal capacity for harmony and destruction. The struggle for power, thirst for vengeance and ideology of dominance are also present in this anthropomorphized natural world for an in-depth exploration of the human condition, as are themes of redemption, forgiveness, and rebirth after spiritual death.
Clement-Davies is extremely comprehensive in the ancient myths and stories he draws upon: everything from the mythical founders of Rome—Remus and Romulus—to Little Red Riding Hood, Christianity and werewolf mythology. His beautifully vivid descriptions also bring the story’s natural and historical background to life, adding to the ill-omened yet magnificent atmosphere of this great and perilous landscape.
The Sight is a powerfully written cautionary tale about the far-reaching consequences of intolerance and betrayal, and an allegory meant to provoke introspection of the failings within our own society. For a fantasy novel that succeeds on several different levels, I highly recommend this one.