I've never thought of a flight as going too quickly. But from the moment I sat down on the plane and cracked open Dorothy Hearst’s Promise of the Wolves, I couldn’t put it down. I actually got annoyed that the 3-hour flight went so quickly because it meant I had to leave Hearst's gripping world before I was ready.
Promise Of The Wolves is book 1 of The Wolf Chronicles, a trilogy Ms. Hearst describes as the story of how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view. It’s a beautifully told origin story interwoven with years of research on how humans co-evolved first with wolves, then with dogs.
The book starts some 40,000 years ago, in a depressingly long winter when food was scarce. Human tribes, wolf packs, and all other beings were struggling to survive. A starving young wolf named Lydda comes upon a young human, skinny and weak from starvation like herself. Both hunters think this meeting will be their turn to be hunted. Suddenly, Lydda feels an inexplicable pull to the human that has nothing to do with the hunger in her stomach.
Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows exactly what that pull is: it’s the bond that draws people and dogs together. Today, after thousands of years of living together for mutual benefit, we happily indulge that pull. But once upon a time, humans had not yet connected with wolves. What was it like for the first human to connect? Unable to be understood, unarmed with the knowledge we have today about how to read a dog’s body language, what must it have been like for our ancestors to welcome another hunter, a competitor for food, into the tribe?
Now flip that – what must it have been like for the wolf, who was armed with only their knowledge and teeth, to approach a group that had weapons that could kill from farther away than the wolf could defend itself? That’s the unique perspective of this book – seeing the evolution of our relationship with dogs through a wolf’s gorgeous gray eyes. It's so detailed and insightful that no less than Dr. Temple Grandin calls it "a remarkable look into the mind of another kind of being."
In Promise we get the start of that story. Kaala, a young wolf born 14,000 years ago, is warned not to be like Lydda, the wolf that succumbed to the pull to a human 40,000 years ago. As it stands, Kaala isn’t accepted in her pack. Determined to prove her worth, she learns along with other pups how to hunt, fight, and follow the restrictions her ancestors have instilled for thousands of years. Kaala’s determination is also a stubborn streak, and Kaala must decide between following her instinct or being accepted by her pack, which is the only way for her to survive. Or are those her only options?
If you love dogs, you will love this book. I can’t believe I didn't pick it up earlier, and once you read it, you’ll feel the same way.
Don't board a plane without it. Head over to Amazon and get your copy today.
If you liked this, you may also like:
Books About Dogs: Jim Gorant's The Lost Dogs
Dog Behaviors That Come From Wolves
Pitbull Pulling Harness