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Wolves of the Beyond #1: Lone Wolf

Review

Wolves of the Beyond #1: Lone Wolf

Away from her pack, her mate and the MacDuncan wolf clan, she-wolf Morag gives birth to three wolf pups. Two of them are tawny and perfect --- like their father. The third is silver gray and has a light splay on one of its front paws. Morag thinks her silver pup is perfect, too, but she knows his defective paw will brand him as malcadh, the ancient wolf word for “cursed.” As a malcadh, the silver pup must be taken away from his mother and Morag and her mate banished to protect the pack’s bloodlines.

Morag nurses her pups in the quiet darkness of a routed fox's den to keep them concealed until the silver pup can grow strong --- and away from Shibaan, the Obea of the MacDuncan clan. As the Obea, the barren she-wolf Shibaan is responsible for carrying deformed wolf pups to a remote location where she abandons them to the elements and fate. Not long after Morag gives birth, Shibaan hunts down the mother and her pups, and then takes away the deformed silver pup. The Obea carries the pup to an isolated location and abandons him on an ice ledge --- a place where surely the malcadh will perish.

Near the ice ledge, as the river threatens to flood, a grief-stricken mother grizzly bear welcomes death as a release from her overwhelming sorrow. Her lone cub has been killed by cougars, and she has lost her will to survive. Yet death does not take her. In the storm’s wake, beneath the water, a dark clot has attached itself to the bear’s hind leg. She picks up the clot and realizes it is a wolf pup that has clung to her during the flood. After seeing a spark of life in the eyes of the near-death pup, she gathers him to her chest and gives him nourishment. Believing the wolf pup is a “gift from the river” to replace her cub, she names the pup Faolan.

As the grizzly nurses Faolan back to life, she once again is filled with motherly love and pride. Months pass, and Faolan grows stronger as his new mother provides him food, love and warmth while teaching him how to survive in the wilderness. To Faolan, his new mother, the Milk Giver with the huge and thumping heart, becomes known as Thunderheart. As days grow shorter and winter approaches, Thunderheart begins her deep sleep in her winter den and Faolan must embark on a courageous journey across the great Beyond.

LONE WOLF is the first book in award-winning author Kathryn Lasky’s new series, Wolves of the Beyond. It is an absorbing tale of courage and compassion in an animal world where the need for love, survival and belonging is strong. Lasky’s careful research and elegant writing enhance the story’s message that life is a gift and being different isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness; it can be a source of strength.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on April 1, 2011

Wolves of the Beyond #1: Lone Wolf
by Kathryn Lasky

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2011
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0545093112
  • ISBN-13: 9780545093118