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The Tenderness of Wolves

Penney, Stef

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1867, Canada: as winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man's cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township - journalists, Hudson's Bay Company men, trappers, traders - but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for 17 years, a Native American culture, and a fortune in stolen furs before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation and humour into a panoramic historical romance, an exhilarating thriller, a keen murder mystery and ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, one of the books of the year.

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Review:

“This subtle and superb novel brings the freezing landscape of the Canadian woods to such vivid life that the landscape itself becomes a strong character within the story. Once you have dived into the tiny, closeted world of Caulfield and its forbidding surroundings, you will certainly not wish to leave.” Crimesquad.com

“…Stef Penney's hefty first novel The Tenderness of Wolves, mines her setting and period for all it's got and then some, injecting plenty of invented intrigue and Da Vinci Code like revelations of Huge Cultural Importance whenever she can. The result is an entertaining, well-constructed mystery that jazzes up the “real” history in a way that's more Ron Howard than Pierre Berton. It's…sexy, suspenseful, densely plotted storytelling…The Tenderness of Wolves remains a first-rate gripper with a notably sensual as well as psychological understanding of its main characters. More than this, it is a novel with far greater ambitions than your average thriller, combining as it does the themes of Conrad's Heart of Darkness with Atwood's Survival, and lashing them to a story that morphs Ian Rankin…” Andrew Pyper, The Globe and Mail

… a highly-assured debut….Stef Penney has written an absorbing and stylish mystery. The Glasgow Herald

… a quite remarkable debut novel.' Birmingham Post

a tense and delicately written thriller - The Observer

unquestionably atmospheric, evocative and eventually rewarding - Independent On Sunday

From the Publisher:

Winner of the Costa Book Award 2007

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 208 x 137 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. A brilliant and breathtaking debut that captivated readers and garnered critical acclaim in the United Kingdom, The Tenderness of Wolves was long-listed for the Orange Prize in fiction and won the Costa Award (formerly the Whitbread) Book of the Year. The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. Laurent Jammett had been a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company before an accident lamed him four years earlier. The same accident afforded him the little parcel of land in Dove River, land that the locals called unlucky due to the untimely death of the previous owner. A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man s cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross s knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother s love -- for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the crime and to the township -- Andrew Knox, Dove River s elder statesman; Thomas Sturrock, a wily American itinerant trader; Donald Moody, the clumsy young Company representative; William Parker, a half-breed Native American and trapper who was briefly detained for Jammett s murder before becoming Mrs. Ross s guide. But the question remains: do these men want to solve the crime or exploit it? One by one, the searchers set out from Dove River following the tracks across a desolate landscape -- home to only wild animals, madmen, and fugitives -- variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller; a panoramic historical romance; a gripping murder mystery; and, ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, an epic for the ages. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9781416571308

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 208 x 137 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. A brilliant and breathtaking debut that captivated readers and garnered critical acclaim in the United Kingdom, The Tenderness of Wolves was long-listed for the Orange Prize in fiction and won the Costa Award (formerly the Whitbread) Book of the Year. The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. Laurent Jammett had been a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company before an accident lamed him four years earlier. The same accident afforded him the little parcel of land in Dove River, land that the locals called unlucky due to the untimely death of the previous owner. A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man s cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross s knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother s love -- for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the crime and to the township -- Andrew Knox, Dove River s elder statesman; Thomas Sturrock, a wily American itinerant trader; Donald Moody, the clumsy young Company representative; William Parker, a half-breed Native American and trapper who was briefly detained for Jammett s murder before becoming Mrs. Ross s guide. But the question remains: do these men want to solve the crime or exploit it? One by one, the searchers set out from Dove River following the tracks across a desolate landscape -- home to only wild animals, madmen, and fugitives -- variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller; a panoramic historical romance; a gripping murder mystery; and, ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, an epic for the ages. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9781416571308

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