Once There Were Wolves - book cover
  • Publisher : Flatiron Books
  • Published : 03 Aug 2021
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN-10 : 1250244145
  • ISBN-13 : 9781250244147
  • Language : English

Once There Were Wolves


From the author of the beloved national bestseller Migrations, a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed―inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?

Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy's Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves―if she isn't consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.

Editorial Reviews

Instant New York Times Bestseller
Instant Los Angeles Times Bestseller
Instant Washington Post Bestseller
Instant Indie Bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
Book of the Month Club Selection

A Most Anticipated Book (Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Good Morning America, Bustle, Scientific American, Publishers Weekly, Sydney Morning Herald, BookRiot, Thrillist, PopSugar, AARP)

"Blazing…Visceral…As McConaghy shows in this stunning book, the limits of language lead us to the limits of empathy."
Los Angeles Times

"This heart-pounding novel digs into the complex relationships between humans―and the creatures with which we share the natural world."

"Suspenseful and poignant…[Inti's] story unfolds as a meditation on the social and scientific consequences of influencing ecosystems, while reminding us that humans and animals alike can break our hearts."
Scientific American

"Lyrical, captivating, thought-provoking and thrilling, this immersive read will capture your attention from the first page."
―Good Morning America

"Bold…A heartfelt and earnest novel."
The New York Times Book Review

"Gripping and often very moving…Despite the darkness and pain at the heart of McConaghy's novel, it is not a bleak book. Instead, it bears within it an argument about the possibility of change. Recognizing the presence of other ways of being, of other minds and presences enlarges us, affording us a glimpse of the unknowable."
The Sydney Morning Herald

"Far more than an old wolves' tale. Instead, it illustrates what it's like to be an outsider―from both a human and animal perspective―and the level of healing and acceptance it takes from within to be accepted and to accept yourself."
Electric Literature

"The Australian author made waves with last summer's Migrations, a meditation on climate change and loneliness, and returns with a new story set in the Scottish Highlands, where two twin sisters join a team attempting to reintroduce a pack of wolves to their natural surroundings."
Entertainment Weekly

"Spellbinding…Charlotte McConaghy has once again created a world where we must balance trust and fear, humanity and nature."
―Washington Independent Review of Books

"From the author of 2020's gorgeous Migrations comes a similarly earth-shattering tale of humanity's influence on the natural world."

"Urges us to take a lesson from the wolves, and learn to lean on one another."

"A lyrical novel with a wild heart."

Readers Top Reviews

Kindle bmwTrixie Be
Quite unusual book, where I could feel the words. The author told the story of rehomed Wolves in Scotland through an empathic sister who felt thier pain. Well done.
Laurie B. Assid
The irony of the past 18 months is that we, the virus, are being treated as the illness we are to this world. Will we work with our host and find a way to co-exist, or will we be eradicated as we have eradicated so many others? Charlotte gives a possibility of hope. Thank you.
Amanda Aries
"Once There Were Wolves." Was a book I was going into blindly. I wasn't expecting to like it other than there are wolves within the pages. But then I started reading. Some parts were boring, and hard to get through because of it, but once you get through the short boring parts you get to the mystery and suspense the book really holds. Without spoiling I want to add that this book left me wondering the whole "who had done it," sort of question. And in the end I was left surprised. It's a great book, I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little bit of darkness and mystery. But beware, SPOILER, there is mentioning of abuse and rape, for any who are sensitive to those subjects.
Ronni Krasnow
Charlotte McConaghy’s talent astounds me. She is clearly on an urgent mission to force human beings to rectify the damage we have done to our planet. But, she manages to do it with stories that are so layered, complex, and above all, beautifully written, that it matters not whether you think you will be invested in the plight of Arctic terns as in MIGRATIONS or in this case, wolves. “When we were eight, Dad cut me open from throat to stomach.” With that incredible first line, we meet Inti, and learn that she has a rare condition called Mirror-Touch, Synethsia, which means she physically feels anything happening around her. When her dad is skinning a rabbit, it feels as if she herself is being cut. We also learn that she has a twin sister, Aggie, with whom her bond is stronger than the normal twin bond.The two have come to the Scottish highlands because Inti is a wolf biologist and she and her team have been charged with reintroducing wolves to the area, as a vital part of saving the forests. Of course, the locals are mostly against wolves, seeing them as violent and dangerous, though Inti tries to prove otherwise. As Inti and her team do their work, McConnaghy skillfully weaves together the stories of the sisters, the locals, and the wolves. Her language is gorgeous, precise, and visceral. I honestly can’t say I’ve read a more beautiful book. It is a haunting story that leaves you pondering violence, love, connection, and the nature of animals and humans alike. I am 99% sure this will be my favorite book of 2021
Autumn - Agents of R
Inti Flynn has never been ordinary. She feels everything and she feels it in a way that most people could never fathom. Growing up, she and her twin sister split their time between two worlds - their mother’s in the deafening city of Sydney and their father’s in the lush green forests of British Columbia. The trees always called to her in the same way that they did her father. They made her feel whole and alive. It’s that very feeling that was to determine the trajectory of her life. She just has to be careful not to let it drive her to that same kind of madness that eventually stole him away. She’s come to Scotland in search of healing – both for her sister and for the Highlands. Her goal as a biologist with the Cairngorms Wolf Project is to reintroduce the wolves back into the surrounding area in hopes of slowing the effects of climate change and to breathe life into it once more. But some of the residents only see wolves as mindless killers and they are willing to back up that belief with bullets. So every single day, Inti must navigate the perilous lines between scientific truth, idealism, and the dark heart of man. And she soon come face to face with the terrible knowledge that there is a predator lurking inside us all. Once There Were Wolves will literally change the way that you perceive all the living world. Charlotte McConaghy has somehow managed to capture the very essence of what it means to co-exist alongside nature in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Every aspect of the story is perfect in its synchronicity - from her broken characters in all their visceral anger, to the verdant landscapes, and the fearlessness of the wolves themselves. It sparked with an intensity that left me feeling an unexpected combination of fury and hope. And I know now, that deep down, we are all capable of being a little monstrous… Favorite Quote - “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can predict a wolf. That’s dangerous. She will always surprise you.”

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