- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Crown; 1st US edition (July 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 110190612X
- ISBN-13: 978-1101906125
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 298 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wolf Road: A Novel Hardcover – July 5, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of July 2016: Beth Lewis’ debut novel, The Wolf Road, is a brilliant amalgam of literary thriller and gritty western. Long after a cold war mis-step has turned back the clock, gold rush fever and vigilante justice are once again a way of life. After a devastating storm, a scrappy young tomboy is taken in by a strange tattooed backwoodsman who names her Elka. Elka is raised in isolation amid the wilderness until, at age eighteen, she ventures into town for the first time. Once there Elka learns horrifying things about the man she thought of as her daddy and sets off immediately to distance herself from him and try to find her parents. On her journey, Elka’s wits are put to the test time and again, but she is a child of the wilderness and lives by its rules, “You ever see a bear jump off a cliff ‘cause life handed him a few rough draws? No, you don’t. The wild keeps going till it don’t have strength in its muscles and bones. The wild don’t give up; it’s forever and so was I.” Inner fire, honest vulnerability, and an endearing sense of humor, make Elka a remarkable character; and since I finished The Wolf Road I have missed her. And I expect that I will for a good long while…--Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
From School Library Journal
In a postapocalyptic world where nature has become just as violent as humanity, and humanity even more violent after the "Fall," or as the protagonist's nana called it, the "Big Damn Stupid," dangerous storms called thunderheads are potentially deadly. Lost after barely surviving a thunderhead, Elka is sheltered by a man she eventually calls "Daddy." But he is so much more than a father, and eventually Elka realizes that she has a debt to pay—and he is the payment. This is a riveting tale of evil, horror, survival, retribution, and redemption. Teens will get caught up in the story as Elka crosses the blighted land and her equally blighted mind in search of the truth. However, thanks to Daddy's inadvertent teaching, the protagonist is nothing if not a survivor, and she and her companion wolf strike out to do what needs to be done. Elka has an original voice that reads naturally. This is destined to join favorites like Sasha Dawn's Oblivion and Lisa McMann's Dead to You. VERDICT A wild ride that will draw readers down the road and through a gamut of psychological suspense and danger to the very last word. For young adults who appreciate the distinctive and different.—Gretchen Crowley, formerly at Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA
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This genre-bending post-apocalyptic book is part horror story, part cat-and-mouse thriller, part modern western, and part survival tale.
Seventeen-year-old Elka can hardly remember her life before she met Trapper. For a decade now, this gruff man has been like a father to her. The two of them have lived on their own in the middle of nowhere—on the fringes of a decimated society. Trapper has taught her how to live like an animal, hunting for food and surviving in the stark wilderness.
Then one day, Elka sees Trapper's face on a wanted posted in a nearby town and learns that he's a deranged killer. She flees north in search of her real parents, but it won't be an easy journey. Along the way, Elka encounters dangerous people struggling to get by in this new world—and not only that, but she has the sneaking suspicion that she's being stalked by Trapper. Worst of all is the nagging feeling, as she confronts her own dark past, that maybe she's just as inhuman as he is. Maybe he taught her too well.
The Wolf Road is a haunting story about a feral young girl reckoning with her inner darkness and coming to terms with her own humanity. It's sort of like if Stephen King wrote The Road. While I questioned some of the author's narrative choices, I was thoroughly captivated by Elka and enjoyed taking this journey with her.
I also think - and I have this gripe with a lot of books - that some characters are too one dimensional and cartoonish at times. The magistrate is a crack shot with a shiny silver pistol, the shyster claim seller is a weasel with a weasely voice and no redeeming value, the human trafficker is a slick talking charmer with a velvet voice and looks to match... You get the point.
Bottom line is this is a great story with some twists, but it's not for those who don't like a little gore with their leisure reading.
I'm glad I bought this in hardcover, as it's a book I'll read many times again over the years.
This novel is cold and severe, which makes the warm parts, where Elka lets down her guard, so much more rewarding. You feel for this character, and for half the novel all I wanted to do was wrap her in a warm blanket and hand her a cup of hot tea.
I felt like the novel at times portrayed Elka and Penelope so much like they were in love with each other, but it just never happened, which was a shame. No one else seemed to interpret it that way, so maybe I got it wrong, who knows.