White wolf / Black wolf

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  • Category: Romantic Novel
  • 1° Edition: 2001
  • Writer: Florence Nahon
  • I.S.B.N.: 84-931944-2-3
  • Legal Deposit: V-832-2001
  • Language: Spanish/ English
  • Format : Digital Download (PDF)

Introduction

This novel is set within the nineteenth century of France; a time of great disruption. The story begins in a prison in Marseilles, where Edmond, the story’s protagonist, is counting down to the end of his sentence, which he is serving for aggravated theft. However, cruel destiny will ensure that he does not enjoy freedom just yet. And it is in this very fortress filled with hostile soldiers and prisoners that our young delinquent, driven by his instinct to survive, will learn how to become a killer. White wolf, Black wolf, is the story of Edmond, the stereotypical bad guy who is trying to look after his stepbrother Julien, an intelligent and successful young man yet undeniably weak in other areas of his life. After a long absence, Edmond returns from his adventures to bury his mother and reunite with Julien. Julien offers him his unconditional affection, whilst Edmond, used to hiding his feelings, decides to entrust Julien’s upbringing to a priest when he discovers his brother is the priest’s illegitimate child. Only just out of prison, Edmond commits a terrible murder in cold blood and feels he has to flee. He finds salvation with the Foreign Legion. The two characters will never see each other again. Over the years, their only bond is the exchange of letters, personal tales filled with tenderness, feeling and truth, where the very best of the human soul is able to survive. Edmond feels contempt for his native country, so ungrateful and narrow-minded. Yet he would prefer to die rather than see his country fall into enemy hands. Far away in Algeria, Edmond discovers the complexities of the heart, violating a country which has welcomed him with open arms, and contempt for the country he is fighting for. A difficult choice lies ahead…

Theme

The theme of White wolf, black wolf is one of vengeance and forgiveness, power and powerlessness. The protagonist comes to understand that after a lifetime of searching for justice, he really only yearns justice from himself. This This novel is set within the nineteenth century of France; a time of great disruption. This situation has a profound effect on the events of the story. The story begins in a prison in Marseilles, where Edmond, the story’s protagonist, is counting down to the end of his sentence, which he is serving for aggravated theft. However, cruel destiny will ensure that he does not enjoy freedom just yet. And it is in this very fortress filled with hostile soldiers and prisoners that our young delinquent, driven by his instinct to survive, will learn how to become a killer. White wolf, Black wolf, is the story of Edmond, the stereotypical bad guy who is trying to look after his stepbrother Julien, an intelligent and successful young man yet undeniably weak in other areas of his life. After a long absence, Edmond returns from his adventures to bury his mother and reunite with Julien. Julien offers him his unconditional affection, whilst Edmond, used to hiding his feelings, decides to entrust Julien’s upbringing to a priest when he discovers his brother is the priest’s illegitimate child. Only just out of prison, Edmond commits a terrible murder in cold blood and feels he has to flee. He finds salvation with the Foreign Legion. The two characters will never see each other again. Over the years, their only bond is the exchange of letters, personal tales filled with tenderness, feeling and truth, where the very best of the human soul is able to survive. Edmond feels contempt for his native country, so ungrateful and narrow-minded. Yet he would prefer to die rather than see his country fall into enemy hands. Far away in Algeria, Edmond discovers the complexities of the heart, violating a country which has welcomed him with open arms, and contempt for the country he is fighting for. A difficult choice lies ahead…novel contains a reconciliation between a man and himself. This is, in many ways, the entire purpose of the book. Goodness or saintliness can be achieved, despite difficult or unwholesome beginnings. The hero, Edmond Morlaix, undergoes quite the transformation throughout the course of his story. He begins as a criminal and convict with absolutely no scruples, to turn his life around and for the most part, he succeeds in doing so. This entire novel builds on the idea that even the most imperfect man can reform.

Characters

The protagonist is Edmond, a young delinquent who lives in Aubagne, a small village near Marseilles, in France. At the time the novel starts, he is in prison and establishes a close relationship with another significant character, an old man called “Le Vieux” who is given a life-prison sentence and will teach him how to survive in jail. It seems like Edmond has no emotions and can’t forgive the people who hurt him. The novel goes through his whole life. It explains the many conflicts he faces. But mainly it shows how he tries to escape his past. A third character appears in the second part of the novel; his brother Julien, although very naïve at the beginning of the story, he becomes very sharp along the years due to much of Edmond’s knowledge and his great power of reasoning and a fourth character, ironically presented to be even more villainous than Edmond, a priest named Mr Erasme and going to extremes, who is taking care of Julien’s education whilst Edmond, chained to the destiny of his mission, is serving the French Legion in Algeria. Leila is another significant character. She is a beautiful prostitute who works in a brothel in Algiers, but will soon fall in love with Edmond. The time they spent together warmed both of their hearts with the feeling they longed for and as love is a powerful thing, fortunately, we will see how during years, Leila, with her letters, will be partly responsible of Julien’s metamorphose. Finally, Captain Von Meir, born with bad instincts is presented as the main villain of the story. He is the corruptive nature of society and will be responsible of Edmond’s death.

Tone

The tone of the book is one of underlying hopefulness, intended to be a fast-paced adventure, illustrating our ability to make mistakes, learning in the process. White Wolf, Black Wolf is a novel that mirrors of hate and love and offers a form of escapism from everyday life. It is a book that appears to be a novel accessible even if sometimes it can seem ferocious, but can be simply read by everyday people, in an airport, on a bus, a beach, in bed, or while waiting in the doctor’s surgery with the intention of leaving the reader feeling an amazing new sensation, a feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction, having experienced something new since opening the first page of their new book.

Synopsis

But there are also times in this man’s life when his homeland is in exile. Outlawed, banished, a man of action, a soldier, Edmond is all this and so much more. And amongst all this disorder, there is love which he unjustly confuses with all those other things in life. The world is composed of light and dark. It is of evil and good, black and white wolves. Like the faces of the coin, these opposing forces can never fully merge into the other, yet as separate entities, they make up a singular material which cannot do without one of the two missing, as Edmond and Julien.

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