This book is one that I have read many times. It was one of the first books that really had an impact on me. The main character, Jon Shannow, was one that a lot of my stories emulated for a good stretch of my younger years. To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous to read it again. There had been a few other books that I’ve re-read only to find that my memory of them was much better than the actual story. Wolf in Shadow isn’t a bad book. Reading it again didn’t make me wonder how I could ever enjoy the story and it was interesting to see it again.
Reading it through this time, I found some interesting things. For one, the main character is one of the weaker aspects of the story. Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man, doesn’t have much depth beyond his quest. Even when asked why he seeks the fabled city his answer is fell flat. The setting is a post-apocalyptic world where one of the major books to survive was the bible. Shannow believes the words to be true and therefore thinks he can find Jerusalem as a glittering city with jeweled streets and ever-lasting peace. Another contingent of people think that since the world ended it is now the end times and the devil won so they worship him. These are called the Hellborn and are the main villains of the story. Shannow walks through bad guys like an 80s action movie and there isn’t really a time when you feel that he’s in any real danger.
The character that I found most interesting was Daniel Cade. He’s introduced about half-way through the book and it cuts back to him on occasion. Cade is a former brigand, bandit, who starts taking refugees in and protecting them from the Hellborn. His motivations and character arc was much more satisfying.
Donna, Griffin, and Madden are all part of the same plot line, but that’s handled nicely. Unlike some of the other characters they actually get addressed in the end of the book. Even the character Shannow picks up along the way, Batik, is more interesting than the main character. He’s a former Hellborn now being hunted by a group called Zealots who are able to telepathically control animals. He has a decent arc to his character too and I wish there was more time with him.
There are a couple of side characters that are kind of one note, and even the big bad seems a little hollow. He’s the leader of the Hellborn, he’s the bad guy, ta-da character. Ruth is another one of the characters that isn’t the best. She does have some development, but I found her lacking. The biggest failing of the book would have to be the character of Archer. He’s a scholar that Shannow meets along the way. He could have done for more page-time as the small glimpse we had of him was rich. Then there are a couple more minor characters that are hardly worth mentioning.