October 01

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

I tore though this like a wolf rips through its dinner. Quickly and ravenously.

This is the best sort of book – the one you can’t wait to get back to every day and let’s face it, they are kind of rare. There are good books yes, nice books sure, and then those books that pull you in, sink their teeth into you and don’t let you go. The only bad part about them is they finish.

So long review short, I loved this and thank my dear book-loving friend Hannah for recommending it.

Inti Flyn, her twin sister Aggie and Inti’s scientific team arrive in Scotland to re-wild 14 grey wolves. The experimental program is based on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park in the US where an ecosystem, dangerously out of whack because the wolf had become extinct, was rebooted and brought back to life. Who knew predators, like bees, were the kings and queens of a flourishing environment?

Inti hopes to heal the Scottish landscape and save her twin sister Aggie who is utterly dependant on her. Inti protects Aggie like she protects her wolves and quite frankly, she needs to. Poor Aggie has been well and truly broken.

The re-wilding program sounds incredible to everyone but the locals who are furious Inti and co have arrived to unleash predators among their farms and livestock and they fight to have the program stopped. While they protest, the wolves become more and more at home among the highlands; they mate, build dens, birth pups and roam.

And they hunt.

When a man is found dead from brutal wounds, a wolf is blamed immediately but unable to accept it may be true, Inti becomes reckless trying to protect the pack. The highlanders rise up and Inti finds herself in the eye of their storm – all the while trying to keep her sister Aggie from hurting herself. Like a wild animal, Inti’s intuition and protective instincts kick in and she becomes rather dangerous herself.

The story of the twins growing up gives the book a whole new dimension as the girls were effectively re-wilded themselves moving between homes in Australia with their mum and Canada with their dad, a man who lived as close to the land as possible and taught the girls to survive on nothing but their wits. He left no footprints anywhere – especially after he mysteriously disappeared and was never found.

This is a sweeping story about people and predators and all things wild. What people do for love and family and what wolves do for their pack and pups. It’s engrossing, unputdownable and of course a bit bloody but it’s beautiful too so dear Readheads, what are you still doing here? Run to your book shop or get googling and add this one to your cart.

Go.

But that is just my two cents worth.