WOLFHOUND CENTURY by Peter Higgins is a fascinating story that takes place in an alternate, magical Soviet Russia, but it ultimately feels like it’s missing Act 3.
WOLFHOUND CENTURY is the story of Investigator Vissarion Lom, who is summoned from a remote province to the capital where he must investigate a domestic terrorist with possible links to a powerful cabal attempting to bring about a coup. Of course, the conspiracy turns out to be far bigger and more dangerous than anyone realized.
While exploring the capital, readers are introduced to a nation that is an eerie analog to early Soviet Russia: gulags, secret police, citizen informants, forbidden artists, persecution of the intelligentsia, a Stalin-like leader, revolutionaries, and pogroms. But there is also a strong fantasy element to Higgins’s world. And as enjoyable as Higgins’s alternate Russia is, I was even more impressed with those fantasy elements.
Higgins grounds his story in a believable reality before introducing the magical bits with a slow drip, drip, drip. Before you realize it, the world seems more magical than mundane: heavenly battles, fallen angels, giants, sentient elements and more.
Higgins has written a beautiful, moving story. However, just as readers get a handle on just how dangerous the conspiracy really is, and Vissarion finally knows gets up off the floor to fight back, the story ends. I actually checked to make sure my copy wasn’t missing the final 100 pages. I assume WOLFHOUND CENTURY is the first part of a larger series, but, for all of Higgins’s talent with worldbuilding and clever writing, I couldn’t help but feel like I was left hanging.