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Prowling, predatory, ravenous, merciless, cunning, brutal viscous, savage, beastly. These words have been used to describe human beings nearly as frequently as they are used to describe the most violent carnivores that scour our wildernesses. Perhaps it only makes sense that at one point in human history, the metaphor was used far more literally: a man who went on a rampage, killing his parents and his wife and fleeing to the lawless protection of the forest was surely more monster than man. Surely, he had received a sort of summons from his vestigial animalistic nature – a summons that had overwhelmed the nobler, restrained instincts of humanity. Perhaps he was a werewolf.
This book contains a variety of werewolves and shapeshifters. Not all are wolves, per se: some are panthers, some cats, some are simply beastly. Some of these stories are subtle, mystical, or poetic. Some are powerful, gothic, and indulgent. There are tales of campers disappearing into the woods, of women stopped on the forest road by wolf man, of degenerate family curses, of cannibalistic women, of men who lure children into the woods before both disappear forever, of were-cats and were-panthers, of men trapped in their wolf form by unfaithful wives, and wives killed in their animal form by unsuspecting husbands. They are tales of desire and hunger, power and violence, transformation and degeneration. They are tales of men. They are tales of wolves. And they are tales of the dark and shadowy territory that binds the two.