||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2013)|
Time Warner (UK) cover art
|Cover artist||Dominic Harman|
|Series||Women of the Otherworld|
|Genre||Fantasy, Romance, Adventure|
|Publisher||Viking Adult (United States), Little, Brown & co. (U.K.), Random House (Canada)|
|1 October 2001|
|Media type||Print (hardback and paperback) and audio book (cassette)|
|Pages||400 pp (hardcover)
384 pp (paperback)
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-670-89471-0 (hardcover)|
- For the anthology by R. L. Stine, see R. L. Stine#Dangerous Girls.
Elena Michaels is the only known female werewolf. And she's tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her— her temper, her violence— but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she's growing content with that life, with being that person. So she leaves her Pack and returns to Toronto where she tries to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she'll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.
The main character of Bitten is Elena Michaels, an ordinary woman—who also happens to be a werewolf. She lives in Toronto, Canada and writes for a popular newspaper. Elena is also the only known female werewolf in the world. This gives her a very special place in the werewolf world, and especially with the werewolf pack. She struggles to deal with her other-ness and to assimilate to the human world. She also contends with her terrible childhood, and with the man who bit her and turned her into a werewolf.
Elena has managed to settle into a somewhat normal existence, living with her architect boyfriend and ignoring her wolf side as much as possible. However, she learns that her Pack (the governing body of werewolves) is in trouble, and comes to their aid, flying to Stonehaven, the country estate of the pack Alpha. It is in Bear Valley, a fictional city in up-state New York. When Elena arrives, she is greeted by her ex-lover, Clayton Danvers, who is also the man who bit her and made her a werewolf (without her consent). Clayton is also the bodyguard and foster-son to Jeremy Danvers, the pack Alpha (leader). Elena learns that a local woman was found murdered on Stonehaven's land, and that she had been savaged by what authorities thought to be a dog. However, the Pack has determined that she was murdered by a Mutt, a rogue werewolf. They track the mutt and find out he is a recently escaped killer, who has even more recently been turned by a bite into a werewolf. Clay and Elena chase him into a rave and after several of the partyers are killed, while running after Elena outside the rave, the wolf is hit by an SUV.
Soon, the rest of the Pack arrives on the scene to help with the problem: Antonio Sorrentino, his son Nicholas Sorrentino, Logan Jonsen, and Peter Myers. The werewolf Pack are the self-appointed governing body of the werewolf world, and they kill to keep the existence of werewolves a secret. This means if they feel any non-Pack wolves(whom they term "Mutts") become noticeable to humans, they kill them. They kill humans too, but not as often. First, Logan and Peter are killed. This greatly saddens Elena, and she starts sleeping with Clay again, without telling her boyfriend, Phillip. As Logan and Peter are not the best fighters, the Pack wonders why that would happen. They also wonder why any Mutt would dare to go near the Pack. Most are terrified of being noticed by them. Then Jeremy, the Alpha is attacked. Finally, the pack figures out that the "mutts", tired of being brutalized by the Pack, are trying to free themselves from their rule. To do this one mutt in particular, Daniel, who has reason to hate Clay from childhood, has started turning human killers and other escaped convicts into werewolves to fight the pack.
- Antonio Sorrentino – Hereditary werewolf and father of Nick. Once the Pack's top fighter, currently still strong. The best friend of the Alpha Wolf (Jeremy).
- Clayton Danvers aka Clay – Bitten as a child, is seen as more wolf than human. He is Jeremy's foster-son-turned bodyguard, and the werewolf who bit Elena. He is also Elena's ex-lover and is still in love with her. Bitten as a child, the story of which is told in Kelley's first online novella, Savage.
- Elena Michaels – Journalist and the only known female werewolf. Bitten by then-lover, Clayton. Her Parents died in car crash at a young age, which sent her into many abusive foster families where she was chosen for her innocent looks. Determined to leave that life behind, she focused on her school work and succeeded in going to college where she would meet Clayton. Used to live with the pack but attempted to leave at one point. Lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Philip
- Jeremy Danvers – Alpha werewolf and leader of the Pack. Possesses some psychic abilities to contact other Pack members. A Hereditary werewolf he has the unusual (for a werewolf) hobby of marksmanship.
- Nicholas Sorrentino aka Nick – Hereditary werewolf, Son of Antonio, and best friend of Clayton.
- Logan Jonsen – Hereditary werewolf, close friend, almost like a brother, to Elena. On the outskirts of the pack, lawyer in Los Angeles. Hereditary werewolf. Is killed by Thomas LeBlanc.
- Peter Myers aka Pete – Hereditary werewolf, good friend of Elena. Also on the outskirts of the Pack. Works as a sound engineer for top bands on tour. He once accidentally murdered two women, was rescued by Jeremy. Killed by Mutt; Thomas LeBlanc.
- Daniel Santos – a Hereditary werewolf and a former member of the Pack; He left the pack after Clayton killed Stephen Santos, his brother. He loathes Clayton and believes Elena should be "his". A man-killer considered dangerous and possibly insane by the pack, he was killed by Thomas LeBlanc.
- Jimmy Koenig – Hereditary werewolf; ex-drug addict/alcoholic and man-killer the nephew of Billy Koenig, killed by Clayton.
- Karl Marsten – Hereditary werewolf; Wealthy professional thief who is seeking territory to settle in. Considered the second most dangerous Mutt by the pack but also sociable.
- Scott Brandon – Bitten Werewolf; Serial killer turned werewolf, bitten by Karl Marsten and Shot and killed by a police officer and then hit by an oncoming truck.
- Thomas LeBlanc – Bitten Werewolf; Serial killer turned werewolf, bitten by Daniel. Targets women and killed by Elena.
- Victor Olson – Bitten Werewolf mutt; Pedophile turned werewolf, bitten by Zachary Cain and killed by Elena.
- Zachary Cain – Hereditary Werewolf; Huge, excellent fighter, but not very bright. After being interrogated by Jeremy and Clayton, he is killed by Clayton.
- Philip Madden – Elena's live-in boyfriend. Lives in Toronto where he works as an architect.
- Anne – Mother of Philip (Elena's boyfriend), Judith and Diane.
- Larry – Father of Philip, Judith and Diane, husband of Anne.
- Diane – Phillip's sister.
- Ken – Diane's husband.
- Judith – Phillip's older sister who lives in the UK.
Concept and creation
Armstrong says Bitten was inspired by an X-Files episode on werewolves. She had the idea to portray werewolves as other than "bloodthirsty, ravening beasts", and quickly wrote a short story about a young woman who becomes a werewolf to present to her writing group. Eventually, Armstrong fleshed out the short story into a novel that became Bitten.
In the Women of the Otherworld series, unlike many modern horror fiction stories, werewolves transform into full wolves in a painful transmogrification, while maintaining their hair colour and body mass, making them extremely large wolves. Although transformations have to occur regularly, Armstrong's werewolves are not affected by phases of the moon, can shape-shift at will and, with practice, can learn to transform a single part of their body (Jeremy and Elena are the only ones shown to be able to do this though it is strongly implied that Clay can as well). Werewolves can be killed by anything that can kill a human, and have no extra sensitivity to silver. They do, however age slower than humans. For example, Antonio and his son Nick, despite an age gap of 17 years, pass themselves off as brothers in human company. In fact, Pack sons are raised referring to their fathers as 'uncle' while amidst humans, in order to avoid questions.
While in human form, werewolves have wolf-like characteristics, better hearing, a keener sense of smell and a wolf's instinctive reactions, while in wolf form they maintain their intellect but cannot talk and are more driven by instinct. In both forms they have greater strength and reflexes than a normal human or wolf and heal significantly faster. Hereditary Werewolves acquire these enhanced abilities gradually, following puberty, and have their first change in their late teens or early 20s. Non-hereditary werewolves start changing shortly after they are bitten, and not all survive the process; the bitten mutts took around a month to recover. In the case of Clay he could transform and had the enhanced abilities from when he was bitten around age five.
Awards and nominations
- Nominated Best First Novel by the International Horror Guild
For a while, there was discussion of making a movie adaptation of this novel. Angelina Jolie was approached to play the central role of Elena. This has however been scrapped for now but there is still a script floating around for it.
On 23 August 2012, SPACE announced that a full-season TV adaptation of Bitten would commence production in spring 2013. The 13-part series was scheduled to premiere in fall 2013, but was pushed back and premiered in January 2014. On 9 March 2013, it was announced that Laura Vandervoort would be cast as Elena Michaels.
- First released in the U. S. by Viking Press in September 2001, in hardcover.
- Released in trade paperback in January 2003 by Plume books.
- Released in mass market paperback in August 2004 by Plume books.
- From "Bitten" website
- White, Claire E. (January–February 2005), A Conversation With Kelley Armstrong, Writers Write, Inc.
- Entertainment News at Gay.com
- Movie News at Werewolf-Movies.com
- SPACE orders new original Canadian drama Bitten
- Male Leads Added to the BITTEN Pack as Production Begins in Toronto on New Original Series for Space
- Laura Vandervoort Gets BITTEN: Canadian-Born Actress to Star in New Space Original Series
- "Frisky... Tells a rather sweet love story, and suggests that being a wolf may be more comfortable for a strong, smart young woman than being human." – New York Times review
- "[Does] the same thing for werewolves that Anne Rice did for vampires in her Interview with the Vampire."- Rocky Mountain News
- Author's Official Website
- Review of "Bitten" at rpg.net
- Review of "Bitten" at sfsite.com
- Author's page at agent's website