Tanya Huff has written about werewolves before, in her urban fantasy Blood Trail (1992). However, she masterfully reworks the concept in The Silvered, creating a complex social structure which combines werewolves and mages. Their country and their culture are under siege by an ever-expanding, Napoleon-esque Empire which regards the Pack as abomination. Bigotry, xenophobia, and racism complicate novice mage Mirian Maylin’s efforts to save the Mage-Pack after five members are kidnapped by the Emperor. The daughter of a banker and a social climber, she has little experience with magecraft or Pack politics, but feels compelled to act. Her only helper is Tomas Hagen, the young, impulsive brother of the Pack leader.
As usual, Huff can be counted on to deliver strong, hilarious female characters as most of the men in the story are out of commission, and it is up to the women to save themselves. Although many of these women posses great power, circumstances bring it down to their wits and strength of character as much as their magical abilities. Magic, far from being a cure-all, only serves to make the situation more complex. The Emperor seeks to pit science against magecraft, but wit and common sense prove more important than either. The majority of the main characters are women but there are some great male characters in this story as well, particularly imperial Captain Sean Reiter, who is central to—but not exactly happy about—the kidnapping plot, and Gryham and Jake, a couple whose appearance in the story is all too brief.
On a technical note, the Kindle edition of this title does (as of my reading) include a small formatting error in which the dropped capitals at the beginning of each paragraph are in fact, dropped, and appear about halfway down the page. Paper editions of this title do not contain this quirk.