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Synopsis: This time, Murphy tells the ripsnorting tale of young Sarah, the Wild Angel of the Sierras. Sarah's parents were murdered, and she, only four years old, was left for dead in the wild mountains. But Sarah was rescued by a wolf who had lost her cubs, and accepted into the pack. There, against all odds, she thrived. Part Mowgli of the Jungle Books, part Tarzan of the Apes, Sarah's story is a delightful adventure for all ages.
When she is not writing science fiction, Pat Murphy writes for the Exploratorium, San Francisco's museum of science, art, and human perception. Pat Murphy's second novel, The Falling Woman, won the Nebula for best novel published in 1987. Her most recent previous novel is There and Back Again.
Review: Though Wild Angel, Pat Murphy's frontier fantasy, deals with both wolves and westward expansion, readers of her lycanthrope novel Nadya should not expect a retread. This playful homage to the Tarzan books and American tall tales travels a lighter, more sparkling road.
Set in the California gold country between 1850 and 1863, the novel follows the adventures of Sarah McKensie, orphaned at age 3 by a stagecoach robber. Sarah is adopted and nursed by the she-wolf Wauna (who has lost her litter of pups to the same brutal man) and is accepted into the wolf pack. As she matures, Sarah learns to assist in the pack's well-being by contributing human tools--a found knife, a bow and arrow, and a lariat stolen from a would-be cowpoke--to the hunt.
With her best friend and pack-sister Beka at her side, Sarah becomes a local legend--the Wild Angel of the Sierras, rescuer of imperiled travelers. Sarah's altruism is motivated less by compassion than by curiosity, bafflement by the settlers' inability to perceive the world around them, and a passion for biscuits.
Surrounding Sarah is a kaleidoscopic cast: an artist with a shady past; a young Indian shaman; a mesmerist-cum-temperance crusader; a circus impresario with a pack of poodles and an elephant named Ruby; a young woman on the lam from her strait-laced aunt; the hilarious fraternal order E Clampus Vitus (or "Clampers"); Samuel Clemens (in a brief and thwarted cameo); and, of course, two hiss-worthy villains--one human, one lupine.
Throughout this tale of coincidence, chance reunions, heroism, villainy, romance, revenge, and adventure, Murphy weaves deft comedic touches--including Sarah's unforgettable improvisation during a staging of "The Drunkard." Even the one continuity blip near the end of the novel reads not as authorial carelessness but as a knowing wink to the plot-and-character-juggling serial writers of the past.
Murphy has written Wild Angel as a novel by alter-ego/imaginary friend Max Merriwell written as Mary Maxwell. The conceit isn't necessary for enjoyment of the novel, but the three explanatory afterwords, by Maxwell, Merriwell, and Murphy, are pure jam.
Before embarking upon this delightful novel, readers would be well advised to check their realism at the door and adopt the motto of the Clampers--Credo Quia Absurdum, "I believe because it is absurd." --Eddy Avery
Title: Wild Angel
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 2000
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book has some visible wear on the binding, cover, pages. Bookseller Inventory # G0312866267I3N10
Book Description Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Only lightly used. Book has minimal wear to cover and binding. A few pages may have small creases and minimal underlining. Bookseller Inventory # G0312866267I3N10
Book Description Tor Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: good. First Edition. First Edition. Slight edge wear to DJ. Boards and spine tight. Nice copy, with little to no wear. No apparent marks throughout this book. Tracking available on most domestic orders. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000034101
Book Description Tor Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First - First Edition. 0312866267 May be remainder marked. When Sarah McKensie's parents are murdered in the gold fields of California, the four-year-old girl is saved by a mother wolf and raised in the pack. Part Mowgli, part Tarzan of the Apes, young Sarah survives against all odds. She becomes known as the Wild Angel of the Sierras, for her curiosity about humans causes her to rescue those in need. In time, the tale of the beautifulyoung girl comes to the ears of two men - one who found her parents' bodies and has grieved for the missing child all these years, and the other her parents' killer, a man who still wants to see her dead. Bookseller Inventory # KB002254
Book Description Tor: NY, 2000. Hardcover. First edition (& 1st printing).. Adventure novel set in the time of California's Gold Rush, by an author best known for her science fiction. Fine copy in a fine dustjacket (as new). Bookseller Inventory # 06067
Book Description Tor Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0312866267
Book Description Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2000. Hard Cover. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. 1st Impression.. As new in as new DJ covered with Brodart. Signed by author on full title page and dated '8/17/00', the month of publication. Autograph guaranteed authentic. Ask for pictures if interested. Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 190287
Book Description Book Condition: Good. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 97803128662664.0
Book Description Tor Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312866267
Book Description Tor Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2000. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Slight bump at head and heel of spine; remainder mark; jacket rubbed. Bookseller Inventory # 041940