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Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
Review by Gayle Surrette
Spectra Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553807097
Date: 27 January 2009 List Price $22.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Kelley Armstrong has been entertaining us with stories of the women of the otherworld since her first novel, Bitten hit the stands. Now, she's collected the novellas and short stories that she wrote for her fans about the Men of Otherworld. This collection focuses on two of the most intriguing men -- Clayton and Jeremy Danvers.

Jeremy, when we first meet him, is the alpha leader of the New York werewolves. Clayton, also a werewolf in Jeremy's pack, is a professor and in love with Elena. The backstory of these two men has been hinted at but never fully revealed. In this collection Armstrong fills us in on many of the details of their lives and what makes them the men they are when we first meet them.

"Infusion 1946" gives us the background on Jeremy's birth. Jeremy's father, Malcolm, desperately wanted a child. The werewolf gene is only passed on to male children and werewolves would impregnate a woman and then, if the child was male, take it from her to raise with the help of the pack. If a girl was born, then they really didn't care what happened. Malcolm finds that he wasn't as clever as he thought he was. This particular story explains how Jeremy came to be raised by his grandfather, Edward, and the genesis of the prickly relationship he had with his father.

In "Savage 1967", we learn just how Clayton became a werewolf. Werewolves tend to be born since most people bitten tend to die from the bite. Clayton, on the other hand, is a werewolf as a result of a bite -- a bite he received when he was six years old. After the bite, Clayton ran into the swamps near Baton Rouge to survive on his own. When he was seven a werewolf nearly killed him. Shortly afterward Jeremy showed up to tame him and bring him back to civilization. Told from Clayton's point of view, it fills in much of the details of Clayton's life between being bitten and when we meet him in Bitten. Throughout "Savage", we learn more about werewolf culture and customs.

"Ascension 1972" tells of the politics and culture that rule werewolf life, the importance of the pack, and the necessity for a pack alpha. When the current pack alpha starts to fall ill, the stronger members of the pack begin to position themselves to take over the power when the current alpha dies. The pack members vote to determine their new leader and if they can't come to a decision then a fight to the death could be an option. How did Jeremy manage to become pack alpha? This story tells the tale. It's a story of intrigue, politics, and back-stabbing but it's also a warm tale of loyalty and love.

The final story is "Kitsunegari (Fox Hunt) 2007". This story ties up some loose ends that were raised in "Infusion". Jeremy's background makes him more than just a werewolf-human hybrid. Jeremy has some other talents that have been hinted at throughout the novels. Now you can learn where they came from and a bit more of his background.

If you love the Kelley Armstrong Women of the Otherworld series, this is a must have book that fills in much of the missing back-stories of the male protagonists of those novels. The stories are engaging, exciting, and as complex as you'd expect from Armstrong.

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