Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Feo and her mother have a strange career.  They take wolves that have been domesticated and train them to be wild.  After all, a wolf is not a dog and they have wild instincts that normally surface no matter how dog-like they've been treated.  If you lose an ear or some fingers to a wolf, you don't want them around anymore.  Give them to Feo and her mother and they will train them in the woods, how to run, what to eat and set them free.  Everything is going well until the General finds them...

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book (thank you).  It will be published August 25th, so make a note to pick it up then.

The General tells them that one of their wolves has killed an elk on the Czar's land.   Feo and her mother try to explain that it wasn't one of theirs; the bite marks are smaller and indicate a younger wolf.  He doesn't listen.  What he does say is that if it happens again, he'll be back.  He'll kill their wolves, put her mother in jail, and send Feo to a "school" where she can learn manners and become more ladylike.  Feo and her mother put their house back in order and then try to live even more quietly than they did before.  The peace doesn't last long.

They are given another wolf to undomesticate and she's fat.  Feo takes her out to exercise and teaches her how to run.  It doesn't take too long before they realize she's pregnant!  When she has her pups, one is too small and born dead.  The other one is alive and healthy.  The mother wolf ranges too far and gets into cows.  She kills a cow, the guards kill her.  Then they come after Feo and her mother. They attempt to run but the soldiers get there too quickly.  Feo escapes but her mother doesn't.  What's she to do now?

This story teaches your about Russian winters, habits of the rich, and how even insane men can get into leadership positions.  There's death in this story and I wouldn't recommend it to an immature reader or someone who has a soft heart.  The ending is just what it needed and the author did a good job with it.  I did find myself with my heart in my throat a few times.  Ms. Rundell's books are never boring.

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