Promise of the Wolves

Title: Promise of the Wolves
Series: The Wolf Chronicles #1
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 7, 2009
ISBN13: 978-1416569992
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Never consort with humans. Never kill a human unprovoked. Never allow a mixed-blood wolf to live.

At least that’s what the wolves of the Wide Valley believe. Until a young wolf dares to break the rules—and forever alters the relationship between wolves and the humans who share their world.

Born of a forbidden mixed-blood litter and an outcast after her mother is banished, Kaala is determined to earn a place in the Swift River pack. But her world is turned upside down when she saves a human girl from drowning. Risking expulsion from their pack and banishment from the Wide Valley, Kaala and her young packmates begin to hunt with the humans and thus discover the long-hidden bond between the two clans. But when war between wolves and humans threatens, Kaala learns the lies behind the wolf’s promise. Lies that force her to choose between safety for herself and her friends and the survival of her pack—and perhaps of all wolf- and humankind.


Set 14,000 years ago, Promise of the Wolves takes you to a land where time is counted in phases of the moon, distance is measured in wolflengths, and direction by the scent of the nearest trail. Join Kaala and her pack in an epic adventure of wolves, humans, and the remarkable bond we share.

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Praise for The Wolf Chronicles

“Hearst excels at creating an atmospheric and richly imagined story, meticulously detailing wolf-human relations as told from the wolves’ perspective.”

“Dorothy Hearst creates a world that’s pure magic, but grounded in fact. For anyone interested in animal life, SPIRIT OF THE WOLVES is irresistible.”
—Spencer Quinn, Author of the Chet and Bernie mysteries

—Book Sense pick

“A vivid, enchanting tale of friendship, trust and adventure.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A crackling foray into a dangerous past. . . The relationships between the human characters and wolf characters are keenly felt and the conflicts sharply imagined. Hearst’s keen interpretations of wolf behavior, senses and sensibilities will enchant paranormal fans and animal lovers alike.”
Publishers Weekly

“If you loved Watership Down, you should not miss reading Promise of the Wolves.”
—Jean Auel, author of The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Shelters of Stone

“The story of Kaala and her pack takes readers on a journey into a rich and fascinating world. A remarkable look into the mind of another kind of being.”
—Temple Grandin, Author of Animals in Translation

“I quickly fell in love with Kaala and the life of the wolves. I found myself struggling to put the book down because I wanted so badly to find out the fate of Kaala and her pack, along with the humans. So whether you’re a wolf lover or not, I’d recommend picking up this book. You definitely won’t regret it.”

“Enchanting. . .a wonderful first installment.”
—Elizabeth Willse, The Star Ledger

“[Promise of the Wolves] beguiles with its dazzling imaginings of the relationship between wolves and mankind.”
The Daily Telegraph

“For anyone who ever wanted to run with the wolves. . .dog owners may even learn a thing or two about their pet’s inner life.”
Library Journal

“A vividly conceived creation myth.”


I got the idea for The Wolf Chronicles one day in May of 2001, when I was sitting around recovering from a really nasty pulled muscle in my neck—one of those ones where you can barely turn your head. Since I couldn’t type, couldn’t read, couldn’t do much besides sit in the chair, I actually had the time and mental space to think about stuff. And I started thinking about dogs, and how remarkable it is that we are so drawn to them, and they to us, and then started wondering how that came to be. It’s such a visceral feeling that I was sure it had to go far, far back into our history and theirs. How did a wild wolf evolve into this creature that is so much a part of our lives? Then, I heard someone say “I’m going to write a book about how the wolf became the dog, from the wolf’s point of view.” I looked around to find out who had spoken, and when it was clear that no one else was in the apartment, I figured I could claim the idea as my own.

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Q. Your debut novel is called Promise of the Wolves. How and why did you first become interested in wolves?

A. I came to wolves through a love of dogs. I can’t see a dog without stopping to pet it, and I can’t believe we’re so lucky as to have them in our lives. And I’ve long been fascinated by the incredible relationship between dogs and people—the way that we consider dogs part of our families and the way they consider us part of their packs. People run into burning buildings to save their dogs, and dogs seem as devoted to us as we are to them. It’s such an intense relationship and seems to be instinctive.

And yet wolves, the animals from which dogs evolved, inspire such mixed emotions. Some people revere them as our lost link to nature. Others see them as the incarnation of evil. Wolves were completely eradicated in the continental US by the 1930s because people hated them so much, and then were reintroduced in the 1990’s because people loved them so much. This tension between wolf lovers and wolf haters continues today. People are incredibly passionate about wolves.

This contrast is what led me to the wolves, and to Kaala’s story.

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Reading Group Guide

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Chapter 1

14,000 years ago

The legends say that when the blood of the Wide Valley wolves mingles with the blood of the wolves outside the valley, the wolf who bears that blood will stand forever between two worlds. It is said that such a wolf holds the power to destroy not only her pack, but all of wolfkind. That’s the real reason Ruuqo came to kill my brother, my sisters, and me in the faint light of the early morning four weeks after we were born.

Wolves hate killing pups. It’s considered unnatural and repulsive, and most wolves would rather chew off their own paws than hurt a pup. But my mother never should have whelped us. She was not a senior wolf, and therefore had no right to have pups. But that could have been forgiven. Much worse than that, she had broken one of the most important rules of the Wide Valley, the rules that protect our bloodlines. Ruuqo was only doing his duty.

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