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5 reviews

The Tenderness of Wolves: A Novel
by Stef Penney

Published: 2007-07-10
Hardcover : 384 pages
5 members reading this now
16 clubs reading this now
5 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 5 members
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 ...

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Introduction

(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.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Tenderness of Wolves"by acons (see profile) 10/13/14

Great read. I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions.

 
  "The Tenderness of Wolves"by lucydog (see profile) 10/02/14

Wonderful multi-layered story set in 1860s Canada. A trapper has been murdered in a tiny settlement and we are taken on an exciting journey searching for the killer. The environment is brutally harsh,... (read more)

 
  "The Tenderness of Wolves"by margareaders (see profile) 12/18/11

We liked it well enough. There were just too many characters and it just plodded along.

 
  "Reads Like a YA Novel"by ebach (see profile) 09/06/11

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny is a mystery that is very different from your usual mystery. That's why I read it.

The story takes place in Canada around the time of the U.S. Civi

... (read more)

 
  "Murder mystery set in the frozen north."by corron (see profile) 03/04/11

Lots of characters to keep track of, lots of subplots that really don't resolve very well, but a gripping read nonetheless.

 
  "Generated Good Discussion"by dcraggs (see profile) 02/13/09

Slow starter, but most seemed to enjoy the book. Good characters and some good discussion. Different setting appealed to several. We rate on 1 to 10 scale 10 being the best. 1 - 9 , sever... (read more)

 
  "A group of people, running around in the freezing Canadian Wilderness, trying to find a murderer."by GigiMc (see profile) 01/15/09

I didn't like the book, and I think it was because I didn't really like any of the characters. The only characters I liked were either killed or hardly ever talked about. And what I really hated was... (read more)

 
  "Female hero in a cold, dark man's world"by suzmcp (see profile) 01/10/09

 
  "Pulls you in."by calli42 (see profile) 12/01/08

Loved the style and story, but hated the ending. Felt like the author was tired of writing and ended the story abruptly, with key elements (and characters) tossed off and disregarded!

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