I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. It certainly wasn’t whatever The Devourers ended up being. I’m still not entirely sure what I actually read. Let me try to provide a plot summary.
While out for an evening in Kolkata, India, lonely college professor Alok runs into a mysterious and handsome stranger who claims to be a half-werewolf. He weaves a tale that utterly beguiles Alok and the professor becomes obsessed with both seeing the nameless stranger again, and hearing the end of his tale. He agrees to transcribe a series of notebooks for the stranger, all so he can meet him again occasionally.
The first notebook tells the story of three shapeshifters from somewhere in Europe. They all seem to have come from different places, one from the far north, one from a distant France and one from Greece. These three predators travel together as a pack, hunting and feasting on the flesh of men, women and children as they move across the globe. They end up in 17th Century Mughal India, where Fenrir, the one from the north, becomes obsessed with a young prostitute, causing an irrevocable rift between him and his travelling companions.
The second set of documents that Alok is set to transcribe appears to be the story of Cyrah, the young Muslim woman who is raped by Fenrir, a creature determined to reproduce, which his shapeshifting kind is normally unable to do. Cyrah is disgusted by him and unwilling to bear the child, but nonetheless wants to confront the creature who forced her, and have a reckoning. She allies herself with Gevaudan, Fenrir’s former companion, and together they develop an uneasy truce as they try to track Fenrir through India.
Alok is further ensorcelled by the tales he transcribes, correctly deducing that they narrate the origins of his mysterious stranger’s parents. He is both repulsed and fascinated by the tale, trying to disprove what he’s reading as fiction, even as he becomes convinced that the nameless stranger is telling the truth about the dark creatures who lurk on the outskirts of human society.
Full review of my conflicted thoughts about this book on my blog.