cover image The Wolf Wilder

The Wolf Wilder

Katherine Rundell. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1942-0

In 20th-century tsarist Russia, aristocrats raise captured wolf pups to perform as dogs, but when the wolves go mad, they send them to a girl named Feo and her mother, Marina, who "untame" them, so they may live in the wintry wild again. General Rakov, ruler of the tsar's Imperial Army, orders Marina to shoot the wolves; when she refuses, he burns their home and takes her prisoner. Feo plans to rescue her mother with the help of her best friends%E2%80%94wolves White, Gray, and Black%E2%80%94and Ilya, a teenage army deserter with "skinny wrists, but a muscly brain" and a passion for ballet. As in her previous novels, Rundell's (Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms) evocative prose offers startling imagery; when Feo, feeling abandoned, realizes she is not alone, "The moments in which the world turns suddenly kind can feel like a punctured lung." Fairy tale and history merge seamlessly; in a land where terror reigns and adults grow numb with fear, a "little wolf girl" outmaneuvers a sadistic general, awes a village, and inspires an army of children to march on St. Petersburg with dreams of justice. Breathtaking. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Claire Wilson, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Aug.)