A. A. Attanasio

The Wolf and the Crown by A. A. Attanasio

Published in 1998, The Wolf and the Crown is the third book in A. A.¬† Attanasio’s telling of the King Arthur myths. It follows the young king Arthor through the first year of his reign. He must prove to his subjects that he is a worthy king, and must prove to himself that he is a good man even though he fell prey to his witchy half sister’s seductions. This book is very different from its predecessors. The chapters are short, perfect two-page cliff hangers that whirl the reader between the various characters and situations. This book holds more horror than the ones that came before, but is leavened with great humor. It focuses on Arthor’s humanity, but doesn’t neglect the elements of the strange and magical one would expect from¬† Attanasio. Gods old and new, ghosts, witches, demons, angels, vampires, dwarfs, elves, stolen and misplaced souls, the hell that is our present day, the fabulous world tree that is the magnetic field surrounding the earth, the hollow hills above the dragon at the heart of the earth, heroic adventure, selfless sacrifice and a monkey, it’s all there in a tapestry of magic and realism. Attanasio isn’t bound by any of the old tellings of this myth; he takes the characters and elements and makes them uniquely believable, uniquely his own. As in many of Attanasio’s books, such as his first novel Radix and 1993’s The Moon’s Wife, the heroes are deeply flawed and take on painful journeys of self-discovery and change.