Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Spice and Wolf- novel 4


This novel is not covered in the anime. In fact it was omitted, as it should have taken place before they arrive in Lenos (second season episodes 7+).


Six days after the events in Kumersun, Lawrence and Holo head into the northern town of Enberch, where he plans on selling his wheat and to ask about their real destination of Tereo. He cannot sell his wheat here as they have plenty, and are told that the village of Tereo is only half a day away by wagon.

Lawrence was told in Kumersun that Tereo supposedly has an abbey whose residing monk specializes in collecting stories of pagan gods, and thus might know more details about Yoitsu's destruction by the Moon-Eating Bear.

They arrive at Tereo and visit the church priest about the whereabouts of the abbey. The priest is a young staunch girl named Elsa, who upon hearing talk about an abbey decides outright to be of no help to them.

After spending the night there, Lawrence concludes on some mysteries surrounding the village.
*The villages turn a blind eye to the church, instead worshipping a Norse snake god.
*The villages seem wealthy, but do not work.
*The abbey that is suppose to be in the village is never talked about.
*The villages talk about how much gratitude they owe to the late priest who died over the summer.

Lawrence's practiced merchant's eye discerns that there must be a trade arrangement between Tereo and the larger Enberch, which is astonishingly favorable to Tereo, probably thanks to the late priest.

Lawrence decides to visit the miller, a young man who seems to be in a relationship with Elsa. He does this as a way to access Elsa, and sure enough, after visiting her again she seems to accept them inside the church for a talk. However this talk comes to no conclusions, with Elsa heavily suspecting them of being spies from Enburch. Lawrence and Holo take drastic measures and have Holo show her her wolf ears and tail. Elsa faints. This gives Holo time to establish that this church is actually the abbey they are looking for.

When Elsa wakes up, they establish the facts that Lawrence's assumptions about the village were correct, and that the town of Enberch would send in an angry mob in if they find out the Tereo's church is in actual fact an abbey (a place of solitary worship rather than a place of teaching about god like a church is). Enburch would deem the village as an official place of worship to the Norse religion, which would need to be squashed by Christianity.

Having proven to Elsa that they are not from Enburch, they are given access to a secret underground room that the late priest used for collecting his works on Norse tails.

Lawrence and Holo banter like a married couple whilst reading stories of Norse gods. Holo falls asleep on his lap and a little while later he finds a whole novel dedicated to the Moon-Eating Bear. Just as he is about to wake her up, he hears the sound of a horse arriving in the village.

This visitor is a messenger from Enburch. He informs the village elder of a death in Enburch, caused from the wheat bought from the village.

Holo reads the novel and finds out that Yoitsu was devastated by the bear spirit, with Holos wolf friends most probably retreating and running away during the attack.

When Lawrence learns of the news it means big trouble for him and Holo. The villages' wheat would surly be returned, bankrupting them. Blame would be placed upon the visitors, and if not them, then Elsa and her boyfriend the miller, who also is in charge of the taxes for the village.

The only way out of the situation is to run. Holo and Lawrence decide to run away with Elsa and her boyfriend Evan.
They are trapped inside the church/abbey with an angry mob forming outside. Elsa mentions that Father Franz (the late priest) once told her about an escape route located from the underground room. Upon investigation Lawrence knocks on one of the walls which seems to be hollow. They tear it down which reveals a circular shaped tunnel. they walk down it, which twists and turns out to an expanded cave and cliff face looking out to the country. Elsa explains this cave is sacred to the villages, as they believe it to be where their snake god resides. Given the circumstances regarding these norse 'gods', Lawrence and Holo alike believe it to have once been a tunnel of such a serpent spirit, and that the room under the abbey was probably built in the existing tunnel.

Holo turns into her wolf form. The other three climb abroad and they run off to Enburch (they need directions to Holo's home town of Yoitsu). Half way there they have to stop as they notice a caravan of people from Enburch making their way to the village with the returned wheat. Elsa decides against running away and starts to walk back. Evan follows.

Wolf form Holo breaks down in emotion. She sees herself in Elsa, one who would never back down to save her village despite the odds. She turns into her human form again and breaks down on Lawrence. She's sad that she never had the chance to protect her home.
During this talk Holo reveals that only a miracle would save the village now. Lawrence thinks about such a miracle and she catches wind. She takes one wheat grain out of her pouch, and using her power, makes it grow and mature in her hand. They come up with a plan and head back, catching up with Elsa and Evan.

The caravan finally arrives in the village and demands payment, which they simply dont have. The villages are accused as heretics and being led by the devil. Just as things are about to turn ugly, Lawrence, Holo, Elsa and Evan arrive. They accuse Enburch as being unfair, and that god will show them a miracle that their village of Tereo did no wrong. Holo uses her powers to make every seed in the returned wheat grow and expand into new plants, maturing and forming seeds once more (in affect quadrupling the amount that was there before). With everyone dumfounded, Elsa uses this opportunity to make demands on the people from Enburch.

In the end it turns out that Enburch came up with their plan ever since Lawrence tried to sell his wheat with them. They needed an excuse to screw Tereo over, and Lawrence was going to face the brunt of it, and most probably killed in the process.
Because the wheat could not be sold in Enburch, Lawrence teaches the villages about how to make cookies using it. These could then be sold in Enburch. Apparently the recipe is well known in the South but not in the North.

Elsa gets the respect she deserves from the residents, some even start turning up for church ever since witnessing the 'miracle'.

Elsa gets closure on what religion she believes as well, with the Norse spirits being created under the one true god. She's also open to accepting other religions as well.


This novel was not adapted into the anime :(

I love Lawrences and Holos banter. He seems to be a lot wiser now and it comes across in their banter, which she loves. As for their relationship, things got interesting as they were reading the books in the underground room. He asked her what will become of their relationship once they reach Yoitsu, of which she replies 'I know not' and then they act melancholy and needy around each other. Awwwww. It seems to make sense for them not to become a couple at this point. They have only known each other for about 2 months, so just give it some time.

I rate this novel 10-10 once again. This series can do no wrong.

"However, what will you do after we reach your home" "I know not"  

Despite apparently having no readers, I would like to point out that I'm not very trusting over reviewers. I'm a skeptical reader and would rather listen to the voice of many than the detailed reviews of the one individual. As such, I produce reviews with more emphasis focused on the synopsis than what I think of it. It doesn't matter 'what I think'. It matters what YOU think. By detailing out the story, hopefully you, the reader, will make your own conclusions on whether its a good storyline. Just because I liked it doesn't mean you will. I'm here to give you the run down if you want to know the story without reading it, maybe as your easiest option of knowing the story without buying it, or for those that watched the anime and are curious as to what happens next.

Having said this I would like to know if my writing style is too strange. So please drop me a comment.


  1. Having just finished volume four I found the conclusion rather distasteful. While I understand what Lawrence did and why he did what he did in the negotiations, the results are less than ideal. In a position of great power (thanks to the "miracle") he still gives up the village's absurdly favourable contract (ignoring the stipulation that the villagers do not have to pay tax for goods they purchase) and does not manage to sell the wheat.

    His solution is temporary at best and in the short term thanks to the extra quantity of wheat the villagers should be able to profit greatly with cookies. He has their unilateral support due to this but that is because no one has foresight nor knows of business. In the future the village will be cornered into the trap that all villages face at the time as they have been effectively folded under Enburch's influence. Without the contract they will lose their way of life within years and will have to work extra hard on side jobs to ensure they have enough money to survive. After all, cookies will be done by other bakers given the time and since the contract no longer exists, Tereo is no different economically from any other village now.

    The compromise Lawrence made is disastrous and he has effectively screwed the villagers; he offered the contract to be nullified when he had no need to. Yes, it would avoid further conflicts in the future only because Enburch has gotten what they wanted. What makes me cringe most about this solution is that Lawrence himself does not profit greatly from this ordeal. He, humbled for whatever reason only asks for his wheat to bought at an above average price from the villagers of all people. He could have very well sold it to that wheat merchant in Enburch as part of the negotiation as his wheat is not of Tereo.

    Of all the novels so far this one's conclusion is the most disappointing. I am actually glad it never made it to the Anime as if this was the arc that finished the Anime series I would have been left immensely disappointed.

  2. fair enough. Unlike western authors, Japanese authors are pressured to churn out their novels as quickly as possible. If he(?) had enough time to work on each novel im sure details like this would have been ironed out.

  3. While I understand that, this ending was just so wrong; nothing like the previous endings which were immensely satisfying. I felt like Isuna decided to include unnecessary things (contract voiding, cookies, etc) and ignore necessary points (contract's clauses, rational negotiations, profits). It's just a very strange and disappointing ending that also was very shortsighted in the book and writing. I hope the other volumes do not produce conclusions such as this.

    Yes, Isuna is a he. I would say I'm a fan of his but the previous pieces of his works that I've gone through were rather disappointing. Aside from this volume, World End Economica I while still good overall wasn't well executed, and his other Manga Billionaire Girl was a completely hollow experience. I'm starting to think Spice and Wolf really will be his one and defining piece of work. Shame really when he's such a great niche writer.