This is a reissued, and retitled, edition of Yarbro's 1983 novel, *The Godforsaken.* The story is set in Spain during the mid-1500s, when the Spanish Inquisition was at the height of its power--a most uncongenial environment to be a werewolf. As werewolf stories go, *Lost Prince* might be classified "retro." The current literary vogue treats lycanthropy as empowering, not as a liability. The werewolf has evolved to challenge the vampire for the romantic role of the sexy, edgy, dangerous lover. But twenty-five years ago when *Lost Prince* was written, werewolves were not usually depicted as a different, even superior, species with their own subculture, hierarchy and history. Don Rolon is the victim of a curse, one which he did nothing to deserve. As his awareness of his condition slowly grows, he shrivels with horror and shame at his own deeds and his beast-like transformed self. Like the classic "wolf man," Larry Talbot, Don Rolon can see no possible way to reconcile his curse with his normal life. If he can't escape the curse, death is his only alternative.
As in her Saint-Germain vampire series, Yarbro's treatment of her protagonist's supernatural condition is understated. Don Rolon's physical appearance as a werewolf, and his transformation, are never clearly described. We only get hints through the emotions and reactions of those around him, and eventually Don Rolon himself. The mayhem that the werewolf commits is mentioned, but in far less detail than the torture inflicted by the Inquisition on its victims. Although the werewolf slaughters women, children, and Don Rolon's friends and kin, Yarbro implies that its actions are mild compared to the horrors inflicted by self-justified human beings.
*Lost Prince* draws a richly detailed portrait of a time and place you would never want to live in. It offers a different concept of werewolves than the current trend, and presents several complex and engaging characters, especially the dwarf court jester, Lugantes. Fans of Yarbro's Saint-Germain series will find many similarities and parallels to those books, and might enjoy reading *Lost Prince* in conjunction with *Darker Jewels,* set in the same time period but a very different society, 16th century Russia.
Unfortunately, this reissue edition of the novel is seriously marred by typesetting errors. I have never seen a book with this many serious typos. There is not a single page without multiple errors, including one instance where a block of several paragraphs is printed twice. Wrong letters, wrong punctuation, missing letters, missing punctuation, omitted spaces between words, missing strings of words, hyphenated words in the middle of lines, missing section breaks, misplaced section breaks--the book is filled with them. I have trouble understanding how a publisher could send a book to press in this condition--didn't anyone proofread it?! If it wasn't for the typos, I would give *Lost Prince* five stars. I hope Borderlands Press corrects the plates before it does any more print runs!
(Condensed from my 4/27/08 review on [...].)
Darker Jewels: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain (St. Germain)