Cover art by Gary Ruddell.
In 1906 much is changing in Russia, and on the huge Lohmatski estate a man-eating bear has attacked at least two men. When Gregori Lohmatski, an ardent hunter visiting London, receives the urgent summons home, he invites his American friend and fellow hunter, John Sherwood, to join him.
Russia is far stranger than Sherwood imagined. When he and Gregori arrive, they find Greg's father gone, apparently killed by the bear; his brother Maxim missing; his beautiful, revolution-minded sister Natalya barely evading the political police; and the loyal but superstitious peasants in an uproar.
The Lohmatski men, Sherwood learns, have long been pursued by rumors of their ability to change into bears. Maxim returns, but Greg is whisked away by the police, and Sherwood finds himself on the run with Natalya. From the Russian police. From Maxim, who is not quite what he seems. And from the fate that will inevitably follow Sherwood's wounding at the werebear's claws...
Fred Thomas Saberhagen (1930–2007) was a Chicago-born American science fiction and fantasy fiction author most famous for his Berserker series of science fiction stories.
He also wrote a series of vampire novels in which the vampires (including the famous Dracula) are the protagonists, and a series of post-apocalyptic mytho-magical novels beginning with his popular Empire of the East and continuing through a long series of Swords and Lost Swords novels. Saberhagen died of cancer, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.