Edited and with an Introduction by Dick Collins
In the midst of a wood of evergreens on the banks of the Arno, a man - young, handsome, and splendidly attired - has thrown himself upon the ground, where he writhes like a stricken serpent. He is the prey of a demoniac excitement: an appalling consternation is upon him - madness is in his brain - his mind is on fire. Lightnings appear to gleam from his eyes - as if his soul were dismayed, and withering within his breast. 'Oh! no -no!' he cries with a piercing shriek, as if wrestling madly - furiously - but vainly, against some unseen fiend that holds him in his grasp.
Aged and deserted, Fernand Wagner agrees to serve John Faust for the last year of his life. In return he is given youth, wealth and beauty - but at the terrible price of becoming a werewolf. He loves the glacial, beautiful, sesual Nisida, whose family history conceals a dreadful secret. Together they flee from Florence to a desert island: but dogged by the Inquisition, and by the might of the Ottoman Empire, they are finally forced to face the horror that lurks in the closet....
First published in 1847, Wagner the Werewolf is one of the very earliest treatments of the Werewolf theme in English literature, and has lost none of its power to shock, it is one of the greatest works of George W.M. Reynolds, once the most popular author in England, and the Master of the Penny Dreadful.