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The Last Werewolf [Hardcover]

Glen Duncan
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 12 2011
Then she opened her mouth to scream—and recognised me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”

Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.

Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.

Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.

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Review

“Glorious . . . I can’t help thinking that wry, world-weary Jake Marlowe would make a fabulous dinner companion. Just not during a full moon.”
—Justin Cronin, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Duncan has finally driven a stake through vampire supremacy . . . Cerebral and campy, philosophical and ironic, The Last Werewolf is a novel that’s always licking its bloody lips and winking at us . . . A dark thriller that explodes with enough conspiracies, subterfuges and murders to raise your hackles. Not to mention such hot werewolf sex that you’ll be tempted to wander out under the full moon yourself next month.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
“A shocking new take on the werewolf legend . . . Intelligent, fast-moving, creative, and thrilling.”
The Daily Beast
 
“A clever narrative with a memorable antihero at its feral, furry heart.”
—Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly
 
“Quirky and brilliant—and definitely not for kids.”
Kirkus Reviews
 
“Savvy and exceptionally literate, this is one smart modern werewolf tale. . .  [A] fine supernatural thriller.”
Publishers Weekly
 
“The Last Werewolf is like an updated version of Dracula, only for werewolves, and as rewritten by Bret Easton Ellis . . . In its own blood-crazed and sex-dazed way, The Last Werewolf makes the case for literature.”
—Stephen Poole, The Guardian (UK)
 
“Sexy, funny, blisteringly intelligent . . .  Duncan is the cleverest literary horror merchant since Bram Stoker.”
—Kate Saunders, The Times (London)
 
“Okay, no hyperbole, just an admission: I loved this novel. It’s a howl, a rager, a scream. May The Last Werewolf put a stake through the heart of humorless, overwrought vampire sagas. Two big thumb-claws up!”
—Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden, The Double Bind, and Midwives
 
“A brilliantly original thriller, a love story, a witty treatise on male (and female) urges, even an existential musing on what it is to be human. Get one for yourself and one for the Twilight fan in your life.”
—James Medd, The Word  (UK)
 
“Space should be cleared for this violent, sexy thriller . . . The answer to Twilight that adults have been waiting for.”
—Courtney Jones, Booklist
 
“Yes, there are vampires here . . . But don’t give this book to Twilight groupies; the frank tone, dark wit, and elegant, sophisticated language will likely do them in. . . .  Smart, original, and completely absorbing. Highly recommended.”
—­Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (Starred review)
 
“The best books are blurb defying; they're far too potent for a flimsy net of adjectives ever to capture them. I could say that The Last Werewolf is smart, thrilling, funny, moving, beautifully written, and a joy to read, and this would all be true. But it would also be a woeful understatement of what Glen Duncan has accomplished with his extraordinary novel. The only useful thing I can offer you is a simple admonishment.  Stop reading my words, and start reading his. Trust me: you’ll be happy you did.”
—Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
 
“A magnificent novel. A brutal, indignant, lunatic howl. A sexy, blood-spattered page-turner, beautifully crafted and full of genuine suspense, that tears the thorax out of the horror genre to create something that stands rapturous and majestic and entirely on its own.”
—Nick Cave

About the Author

Glen Duncan is the author of seven previous novels. He was chosen by both Arena and The Times Literary Supplement as one of Britain’s best young novelists. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. March 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very original story and characters. Loved the language... Had to use the dictionary on my Kindle time and again. Reading the sequel!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well, I enjoyed it! Jan. 25 2013
Format:Audio CD
Like other reviewers, I enjoyed the writing. But I also enjoyed the plot and wasn't offended by the content. I don't usually like supernatural thrillers, but this was an exception.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, atrocious plot Jan. 20 2012
By Mae
Format:Hardcover
I recently purchased The Last Werewolf because of all the fantastic reviews it was receiving, but was disappointed. The book is beautifully written and the author has some very in depth views of man and monster that he manages to convey perfectly. I was not impressed with the storyline, in some areas it seemed lacking and the descriptions of sex seemed to be filler.

Synopsis: Jake is the last werewolf and is turning 201 years old. He is tired of life and is ready to be killed by Granier, a member of WOCOP but everything changes when he stumbles upon a female werewolf. As it turns out not only is WOCOP chasing Jake but so are vampires (I won't tell you why so I don't spoil the story). Jake must find a way to protect himself as well as the female werewolf Tallula.

Overall this book was a good one time read; I personally would not recommend it to friends or family due to the content. I assume a second novel will be released disclosing the origins of werewolves as well as Tallula's story.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Divided Review Aug. 31 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Justin Cronin's review (author of The Passage) in The New York Times convinced me to give The Last Werewolf a go. I have not closely followed the recent spate of vampiric and lycanthrope entertainment that has dominated popular culture in books, television and movies. But I was curious as to why so many are so enthralled and I hoped to gain some insight from Duncan's work.

I must admit, that I thoroughly enjoyed it at time of reading. The language was, at the same time, prosaic, colloquial and conversational. The subject and plot seemingly original, fast and fun. However, after I put it down it was like literary Chinese food. I was immediately hungry again because as filling as the book was during consumption it was empty upon reflection. Now I see it as trying too hard to be hip.

The book has been criticized by professional and Amazon customers for its rather direct descriptions of animal-like acts both in bed and on the hunt (I was going to quote a few tracts here but had reservations given the content). It also has been pointed out that certain parts of the plot resemble Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and Underworld but I do not fault the author for being entirely unoriginal given the aforementioned volume of related work.

In isolation there are some tremendous passages that describe the wolf inside the man which had me experiencing the main character's divided loyalties and physical pain, the longing for meaningful connection and substance, and the overarching theme of differences between wants and needs. Lastly, I must credit Duncan for illuminating our fascination with vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts and the like. Clearly we need literary monsters to keep the real ones at bay.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  219 reviews
85 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beasts, Brutality, And Unexpected Beauty--A Literary Horror Novel For Adults May 9 2011
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The idea of covering a werewolf story when the beasts are at the brink of extinction is a compelling hook that leads to all sorts of possibilities. Glen Duncan's "The Last Werewolf" posits just such a situation (but you probably got that from the title!) and turns the story into a literary success examining loneliness, regret, inevitability--and ultimately renewed hope. Taking its classic cues, however, from horror literature--Duncan has crafted a thoroughly entertaining and rewarding tale for adults that is as much about thoughts and emotions as it is about carnage and mayhem. Those looking for a quick fix of blood and guts certainly won't be disappointed at the graphic depictions within Duncan's text, but the joys to be had from this incredibly well written tome should not be limited to genre readers. Seriously, this is a story that crosses into the literary realm with its vivid prose and contemplative themes--and miraculously, it balances its sophistication and smarts with the expected brutality in very complicated and effective ways.

The story is told in a self confessional diary format written by the world's last known werewolf Jacob Marlowe. Marlowe is resigned to his fate and plans to lay down his life for the team of international hunters that have expunged the rest of his brethren. He's lived his life and every day must face the emotional consequences of his actions. It's simply time. But Marlowe is not in full control of his destiny and, even as he readies for death, finds that the course to this final solution may still be impeded by unexpected obstacles. With brutal crimes enacted against his friends, a covert operation within the hunter ranks, an alternative plot arranged by other supernatural entities, and a last ditch chance at fulfillment and happiness--"The Last Werewolf" establishes and maintains a relentless pace. But through it all, Duncan never loses sight that this is a character piece of life or death significance.

I love werewolf tales. My contemporary favorite is the Martin Millar saga of a Lonely Werewolf Girl. But where that story embraces the lunacy and comedic potential of beasts in the modern age, Duncan plays it straight. He challenges readers to face the atrocities of his central character and to STILL care for him as an individual. At first, Duncan's style surprised me and I wasn't sure that I'd get hooked into this fundamentally human story. But the flow and pacing starts to establish an almost rhythmic feel and I started devouring the pages with ferocity. Emotionally satisfying and propulsively entertaining, I really enjoyed spending time with Marlowe and facing the world with him. Never having read Glen Duncan before, he is definitely someone I plan to follow and to check out his back catalogue of titles. Give this a chance, even if it isn't your normal genre--Duncan is a seriously good writer! KGHarris, 5/11.
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You can't live if you can't accept who you are" May 1 2011
By J. Prather - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The Last Werewolf is an amazing novel that practically demands to be read in one sitting. I found it simply impossible to put down. With an unbelievable sense of style and an amazing use of language, it examines moral issues ranging from the value of life, the nature of evil, the power of love, the existence of God and the nature of the beast within us all. It does all this in a manner that is unabashedly gory, sometimes sexy, and at all times thoughtful and well considered.

We meet Jacob Marlowe as he learns that he has become the last werewolf. We follow him as he prepares to spend his last days before facing certain extinction at the hands of the WOCOP, an organization dedicated to the control of occult phenomena. He is giving up. He's tired of the loneliness of 167 years without love, and is weary of the logistics of life. The author paints such a vivid picture of this character that I was glued to the page simply for the pleasure of his thought processes and his sometimes glib wit. Jacob's journey from a creature fed up with life to a creature ready to embrace it once again was the highlight of this book.

Of course not all the action occurs in the head of our rather suicidal werewolf. The author deftly brings in a world that also holds vampires and other paranormal creatures. They are secondary but play an important role in the intrigue that develops as Jacob learns of the other forces interested in his life and death. We also have quite a unique romance cooking here that will lead to scenes that mix violence and sex and are most definitely not for the squeamish.

The inevitable comparisons to Twilight will no doubt be made, but pay them no mind. The werewolves and vampires in Glen Duncan's world bear little resemblance to Bella's friends. The more apt comparison, if you must, would most likely be with Anne Rice's vampire stories. This is a fantastically well written horror tale that takes the classic werewolf myth and brings it to life in a contemporary setting while keeping all it's gruesome glory intact. The author also succeeds well in his examination of the classic monster question - how can I accept what I have become? The fine writing, delicately nuanced characters, and the intriguing examinations of evil and human nature all combine to make The Last Werewolf an enthusiastic recommend.
53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Werewolf May 5 2011
By Brendan Moody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Werewolves may not have suffered the overexposure forced on vampires, but they haven't exactly been ignored, either. And as with vampires, the contemporary imagination seems mostly to focus on their tragic potential: immortal, loveless monstrosities forced to live in a world without kindness, where their own nature must inevitably betray them to atrocity. Melodramatic, yes, but one acknowledges the inherent possibilities. The trouble is that, decades after Interview with the Vampire, sympathy for the supernatural verges on the passe, and writers working in that territory have to bring something new or profound to the table. Despite its breathless cover copy, Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf manages neither hurdle.

Jake Marlowe, the titular beast, is so world-weary that knowledge of his own impending execution by werewolf hunters barely strikes a nerve. He's content to lie down and let it happen. But, because this would otherwise be a very short novel, fate intervenes, throwing him into the middle of complicated machinations involving vampires, ancient secrets, and layers of intrigue within the occult police force that wants-- or does it?-- to end werewolf-kind entirely. And then, something yet more unexpected comes along, something that reawakens Jake's lust for life, just when death seems most inevitable...

If all this makes The Last Werewolf sound like a thriller, that's what the book ultimately is. For the first hundred pages or so, it indulges certain literary ambitions, of which more later, but soon the plot twists come thick and fast and introspection is largely pushed aside. At first, this is something of a relief, because Duncan is more adroit with sudden violence and double-crossing than he is with werewolf angst, but after a good deal of build-up the novel ends abruptly, with an anti-climax that leaves several plot threads merrily dangling in a way that, intentionally or not, suggests the possibility of a sequel. It's not enough to entirely obviate the pleasures of the preceding two hundred pages, but it's very much a letdown.

The book's thematic resolution, while reasonable enough, is likewise disappointing: too facile, an insufficient pay-off for the time earlier pages spent laying these issues out. The author wants, it would seem, to address large questions about good, evil, and survival, but because the novel is written in the first person, it never achieves the distance necessary to look at its protagonist's behavior with an appropriately jaundiced eye. Point-of-view is a powerful tool for generating sympathy, and simply being inside Jake's head generates a minimal interest that he doesn't deserve. At first he's simply a supernatural variation on the idle rich, musing on his putative desire to stop living even as he drinks exquisite wine and patronizes expensive prostitutes in fancy hotels. He says that he wants to give it all so often that one wonders why he doesn't just pitch himself out a window. The reason, of course, is that for all his talk of suffering he wants what most people want: to live. So his world-weariness rings hollow, and quickly begins to grate.

The flashbacks to Jake's first days as a werewolf, in which he commits what would be a shocking crime if it weren't what most supernatural creatures do after becoming what they are, are among the novel's finest sections, written (as all the werewolf transformations are) with a poetic fire that has genuine visceral effect. But this style also has a distancing effect; Duncan evokes the primal fulfillment of the werewolf's nature so well that the moral dimension disappears from consideration. To describe violence in stylish language is, however unintentionally, to glamorize it. One can't sympathize with Jake because one recognizes that what he's doing is monstrous; one can't sympathize with his victim because she, like most of the novel's other characters, remains distantly seen, interesting only in terms of Jake's response to her. That response includes flashes of what might be guilt, but they're so intrusive, so alien to his actual behavior, that they read like authorial interjections rather than suggestions of a bruised and buried conscience. Ultimately, despite bouts of hand-wringing the novel fails to confront the true nature of its protagonist's behavior, and so the thematic resolution, which might otherwise have felt horribly inappropriate, is simply glib.

Despite these drawbacks, the novel is thoughtful and effective enough, both as a thriller and as a literary novel, to remain compelling across its three hundred pages. Several key plot points are carefully set up, and the prose is never less than elegantly taut, although Jake's penchant for literary allusion comes to seem affected, and the constant variations of "in a movie, this would play out differently" serve only as reminders that this too is a fiction, and one that hews closely to the tropes of the form. It may have higher ambitions, but The Last Werewolf achieves its greatest success as a page-turner: intense, frightening, surprising, and morally flat.
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reader, I ate him June 15 2011
By Lani Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Is anyone else as tired as I am of reading rave reviews of the latest `literary' supernatural thriller, only to find that the book in question is poorly written, badly plotted, and a general mess? Well, at long last, here is a novel that actually deserves good reviews.

The Last Werewolf tells the story of Jake Marlowe, 200-year-old philosophically inclined werewolf. Marlowe is filthy rich, knows his scotch, has read everything (he's had 200 years in which to do it), and is great in bed (as all werewolves are). James Bond with brains and a mordant sense of humor. I have to admit, I developed a bit of a crush on Marlowe, and was sorry the book had to end.

Unlike the other thrillers I've been bamboozled by good reviews into reading, Duncan actually uses Marlowe's attributes and shortcomings to reflect on the nature of our lives and desires. Marlowe is exquisitely reflective, but still at the mercy of his animal nature (like all of us). He realizes that his very decision to live means that other creatures will inevitably die, but makes the decision to go on living anyway (like all of us). And his deliberations on his dilemma are often genuinely interesting, and quite often funny.

I found the ending not quite up to the quality of the rest of the book, but still, The Last Werewolf is very much worth reading.
33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The last werewolf.(May contain spoilers) June 14 2011
By TrishNYC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Jake Marlowe is informed by his friend Harley that the only other known werewolf on the planet has just met his untimely death. Jack knows that his days are numbered because the head of the organization in charge of dispatching supernatural creatures to the great beyond, Granier, has it in for him. His offense; Jake is responsible for the death of Granier's father and returning the favor has been top of his list for decades. Faced with his mortality, Jake ponders his previous two hundred and one years and a future that seems like it will end by the next full moon. Despite Harley's urging to fight what Jake sees as his inevitable fate, Jake seems resigned and descends into a kind of depression and just wants to die. But a series of events occur that force him to radically alter that decision and for the first time in a long time, Jake has a reason to stay alive.

When I heard about this book months ago, I knew I wanted to read it.The early word on it was that it was a literary tome to this genre, the definitive word on werewolves. I think I even heard it described as the Dracula of werewolves. But after being at first intrigued, I have to say that my hopes were greatly disappointed. This book was in many ways a sex romp with a side of mental soliloquies thrown in. At first I found Jake interesting, sympathized with him and was rooting for him. I felt sad for him when he discusses the sins of his past, things that he had done as a result of being unable to control his need to feed and how he destroyed the person he had loved most. Though the full moon gives rise to the actual wolf, the beast is always present in him and just lurking below the surface. I believe this is the excuse given for his sex escapades (which he describes as crudely as he can and in every detail as possible) all through the book. But after awhile, I lost interest in Jake and his problems because I had to slog through overly descriptive portions of the book as Jake details his every thought, whether or not it is related to the topic at hand or not. And when he accidentally bumps into a female werewolf, he obligingly falls in love with her within days. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly the relationship progressed as Jake and his new lady love try to outrun their pursuers.

Amongst the pluses of this book was that it showed the life style of a werewolf as dangerous and brutal and did not sugar coat what being a monster would really entail. Jake had tried the route of not feeding on humans but he finds that he cannot stop himself. If he doesn't feed, he is in agony, an agony that will dissipate only when he gives in to his animal nature. This leads to a kind of self loathing because Jake struggles with what he must do in order to survive.

I read practically anything and would not at all consider myself faint hearted but this book was too much. I think I threw up a little in my mouth when I read the female genitalia being compared to a baby's mouth. In addition to the other very graphic passages, when I read that description, I mentally screamed and prayed for the book to be over soon. Also the claims being made as to the literary nature of this book never materialized. Mentions of Susan Sontag, allusions to Charlotte Bronte and other such literary or philosophical figures does not make the book literary. Many parts of it felt over written, like it was trying too hard to be deep.

This book did not work for me and I would hesitate to read anything from this author if this is a sign of the way he writes.
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