The White Wolf’s Son

The White Wolf's SonThe White Wolf’s Son
by Michael Moorcock, Published by Warner Books
Reviewed by Cheryl Barkauskas

The White Wolf’s Son continues Moorcock’s Albino Underground series, an epic fantasy series tracing the battles between Law and Chaos. The main character is twelve-year-old Oonagh von Bek, and she begins her tale as old friends of her grandparents gather around her in Ingleton. Old friends of their type attract old enemies, and Prince Gaynor von Minct and Klosterheim return with a pointed interest in the girl. In an attempt to escape the two men, Oonagh accidentally falls through a rift to another world, ending up in a city named Mirenburg. Among those who aid her as she searches for a way home are the giant fox Lord Renyard, dandy and thief lord; an oracular building named Mrs. House; and Oonagh’s grandmother, Oona, who can travel between worlds on the moonbeam paths.

Unfortunately, Klosterheim and von Minct pursue Oonagh to this new world for reasons Oonagh still doesn’t understand. She learns, though, that she’s not the only object of their interest. By chance, she meets a blind albino boy enslaved in a factory and discovers that he’s a relative of her grandmother’s. Before she can arrange his rescue, she’s forced to flee Mirenburg. Their paths cross again, though, and the reason why Klosterheim and von Minct need them both turns out to have dangerous implications, not only for Oonagh but for the balance of Law and Chaos in the multiverse.

Interwoven with Oonagh’s tale is the story of Elric, the patriarch of the family at the end of a thousand-year dream quest. He senses that his descendants are in danger, and although he is dying in his own world, he manages to send his spirit on a mission through the multiverse to protect them. Elric is well-known throughout the multiverse, and he goes to some pains to avoid old enemies as he searches for Oonagh. However, he is prepared to risk his own life to defend his family.

The White Wolf’s Son spans a broad array of settings, from the gloomy underground realm of Mu-Ooria to the opulent and corrupt empire of Granbretan. In scope and imagination, the novel excels. Since the events are narrated mostly by Oonagh, who necessarily has a limited perspective, the mythology of Elric and the worlds takes a secondary position to the events that immediately affect her. The story is Oonagh’s, not Elric’s. Though she lacks the destiny of her renowned ancestor, her adventures are just as intriguing on a smaller scale, and fantasy lovers will find them worth the telling.

May 15, 2007 – Cheryl Barkauskas for Senses Five Press