The Wolf WilderKatherine Rundell,
illustrated by Gelrev Onbico
Reviewed by Trevor Agnew
The Wolf Wilder is one of those books which is so fresh and amazing that you walk around reading bits out to people. Feodora, a “dark and stormy girl,” the wolf wilder of the title, has a dangerous occupation. Russian noblemen like to keep captured wolves as pets but, since they are impossible to tame, the wolves become savage. Feodora’s role is to teach these disoriented wolves to live in the wild again. Deep in the forest, she shows them how to “be bold again, how to hunt and fight, and how to distrust humans.”
Both Feodora and her mother have an affinity with wolves but they still face constant peril. “They go through clean bandages the way other people go through socks.”
A greater menace, however, is General Rakov, whose soldiers protect the Tsar’s hunting rights by shooting all wolves. When disaster strikes, Feodora and her wolves have to flee. With only a runaway boy soldier to help, she has to confront Rakov and save her mother.
This is an original, exciting and heart-warming adventure, richly illustrated with paintings by Gelrev Onbico.
This review was first published in Fairfax newspapers on 15 January 2016