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Secrets of the Wolves

Title: Secrets of the Wolves
Series: The Wolf Chronicles #2
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 24, 2012
ISBN13: 978-1416570011
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Overview

The second installment in The Wolf Chronicles finds Kaala struggling with the consequences of forming the first mixed wolf-human pack.

Secrets of the Wolves finds the youngwolf Kaala entrusted with ensuring that the wolves and humans of the Wide Valley live together peacefully. If she succeeds, she’ll finally prove she’s worthy of her pack. If she fails, the Greatwolves who rule wolfkind will kill every wolf and human in the valley.

To prove peace is possible, Kaala must lead a group of wolves to live amongst humans—without anyone winding up dead. But the secret agenda of the Greatwolves, a rebellion planned by a rival pack, and threats to the human girl under Kaala’s protection make her task nearly impossible. And when Kaala’s long-missing mother calls to her with an urgent message, the choices Kaala makes may determine not only the fate of those in the Wide Valley, but of all wolf and humankind.

Set 14,000 years ago, The Wolf Chronicles trilogy is based on the scientific theory of wolf-human coevolution (the idea that wolves, and later dogs, helped make us the dominant species on the planet) and on the premise that if we can learn to love a creature other than ourselves, our species may yet have a chance to survive.

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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.”
Booklist

“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.”
—TeensReadToo.com

“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.”
Booklist


Inspiration

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&A

What inspired you to write this trilogy?

I’ve always loved dogs, and have long been intrigued by our remarkable relationship with them—by the way that we consider dogs part of our families and they consider us part of their packs, and by the depth of our love for one another. It’s unlike any other cross-species relationship I know of, and it seems to be instinctive, hard-wired. The more I thought about it, the more I came to believe that the connection had to have happened long, long ago in our evolutionary development and had to have been part of our emotional makeup for a very long time. Wolves, on the other hand, are often reviled as the incarnation of evil, as creatures to be destroyed. I wondered how it came to be that a hated and feared creature evolved into a loved and cherished one.

I’ve also always been fascinated by human evolution, and especially by the gaps in our knowledge about it. There are a couple of points in human evolution at which we had a great leap forward culturally with no corresponding physiological change, and I love to theorize about why that might be.

These two things came together when I was spending a lot of time sitting around as I recovered from a sore neck. I read Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire in which, among other things, he suggests that plants domesticated us as much as we domesticated them. I wondered if the same might be true for dogs, and if they might be one of the reasons we evolved the way we did. I did a little research and discovered the theory of wolf-human co-evolution, and I was hooked.

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Reading Group Guide

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

I caught the delicate scent of distant prey and stopped, digging my paws into the earth. Lifting my muzzle to the wind, I inhaled, allowing the distinctive ice-and-hoof aroma to sink to the back of my throat. Snow deer, in our territory and on the move. All at once, blood rushed to the sensitive spot just behind my ears. My mouth moistened, and every muscle in my body hungered for the chase. Next to me, Ázzuen stood as still as I was, only his ears twitching. Then his dark gray head began to sway, pulled between the lure of prey and our task.

“We can’t go after them,” I said. “We have to get to Tall Grass.”

“I know that,” he replied, panting hard. We’d run most of the way across our territory at full pelt. “I’m coming.”

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