by Stef Penney
Category: Crime, Mystery & Thrillers / Crime & Mysteries
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
Publication date: 8 February 2007
Number of pages: 466
Prizes: Winner of Costa First Novel Award 2007.
Winner of Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2008.
Shortlisted for Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Adults' Book of the Year 2007.
Shortlisted for CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award 2007.
Shortlisted for British Book Awards: Waterstones Newcomer of the Year Award 2008.
1867, Canada: as winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man's cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township - journalists, Hudson's Bay Company men, trappers, traders - but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One-by-one the assembled searchers set out from Dove River, pursuing the tracks across a desolate landscape home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives, variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for 17 years, a Native American culture, and a fortune in stolen furs before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly waves adventure, suspense, revelation and humour into a panoramic historical romance, an exhilarating thriller, a keen murder mystery and ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, one of the books of the year.
What the papers say:
"This subtle and superb novel brings the freezing landscape of the Canadian woods to such vivid life that the landscape itself becomes a strong character within the story. Once you have dived into the tiny, closeted world of Caulfield and its forbidding surroundings, you will certainly not wish to leave." Crimesquad.com "...Stef Penney's hefty first novel The Tenderness of Wolves, mines her setting and period for all it's got and then some, injecting plenty of invented intrigue and Da Vinci Code like revelations of Huge Cultural Importance whenever she can. The result is an entertaining, well-constructed mystery that jazzes up the "real" history in a way that's more Ron Howard than Pierre Berton. It's...sexy, suspenseful, densely plotted storytelling...The Tenderness of Wolves remains a first-rate gripper with a notably sensual as well as psychological understanding of its main characters. More than this, it is a novel with far greater ambitions than your average thriller, combining as it does the themes of Conrad's Heart of Darkness with Atwood's Survival, and lashing them to a story that morphs Ian Rankin..." Andrew Pyper, The Globe and Mail ... a highly-assured debut...Stef Penney has written an absorbing and stylish mystery. The Glasgow Herald ... a quite remarkable debut novel.' Birmingham Post a tense and delicately written thriller - The Observer unquestionably atmospheric, evocative and eventually rewarding - Independent On Sunday
Stef Penney was born and grew up in Edinburgh. After a degree in Philosophy and Theology from Bristol University she turned to film-making, studying Film and TV at Bournemouth College of Art. On graduation she was selected for the Carlton Television New Writers Scheme and has since written and directed two short films. The Tenderness of Wolves is her first novel.
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