The Wolf Road
Author: Beth Lewis
Publication Date: July 5th, 2016
Synopsis: Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, a solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old. He has taught her how to shoot, track, set snares, and start fires—all the skills necessary to survive in a wild, lawless land where men are at the mercy of the elements and one another. But when wanted posters begin appearing in town, Elka realizes that the man she thinks she knows so well is harboring terrible secrets. The more Elka finds out about him, the less sure she becomes about her own identity—especially as she begins to recover some of the painful memories she’s kept at bay throughout her childhood.
As the horrific facts emerge, Elka makes her escape, armed with nothing but her knife and the survival skills he’s taught her. She sets out in the hope of finding her true parents, who traveled to the frozen north years earlier in pursuit of gold, but Elka can tell by the shadows that follow her that Trapper’s on her trail—and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. As she encounters physical hardships, violence, and loneliness that at times test her sanity, she also strains to distinguish between fact and fiction in her own recollections. Ultimately, she will have to turn and confront not just Trapper but the dark reality of her past.
THE WOLF ROAD is a tautly suspenseful cat-and-mouse tale of justice and revenge, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape—told by an unforgettable, tough-as-nails young heroine fighting desperately to escape the terrors of her childhood and rejoin humanity.
Praise for The Wolf Road:
“An unrelenting psychological thriller of wilderness survival wrapped in a terrifying hide-and-seek game of trying to escape an unspeakable past. … Fans of suspense with a touch of horror will be pulled into Elka’s intense struggle to find peace and redemption as the whole truth is finally revealed.”
—Booklist on The Wolf Road
“Arresting…[an] odyssey that highlights the striking wilderness landscape and Elka’s grit.”
—Publishers Weekly on The Wolf Road
“A white-knuckle trip through a gritty, frightening, and all-too-plausible post-apocalypse. You won’t know whether to root for or be afraid of heroine Elka, and you won’t be able to put the book down.”
—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts
“A remarkable first novel that drew me in from page one. I was reminded of the beautiful savagery of Cormac McCarthy’sThe Road and the elegiac overtones of Dickey’s Deliverancewhile reading—but Lewis has crafted something completely unique here, carried so powerfully along by the voice of its indelible young narrator.”
—Nick Cutter, author of The Troop
“Addictive and compelling…an apocalyptic thriller with a dark, horrible heart. It’s impossible not to root for Elka as she fights her way through a chilling—but disturbingly familiar—wasteland.”
—Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself
“Stark and soulful, The Wolf Road is a brutal yet poignant journey into the truth of one girl’s origins in a shattered wilderness. It masterfully dances between the savagery of the wild and the raw, blunt humor of frontier logic. A rollicking, striking read.”
—Robert Jackson Bennett, author of City of Stairs
“Dazzling…a literary thriller that weaves lush language and unforgettable characters into a genuine page-turner.”
—Scott Hawkins, author of The Library at Mount Char
“An extraordinary novel—dark and funny and full of wild energy. Elka is a brilliant creation—fierce and vulnerable at the same time. Her story and her voice pull you in from the first page and never let you go. Gripping and unforgettable.”
—Antonia Hodgson, author of The Devil in the Marshalsea
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His eyes searched the trees. Black as pitch them eyes, black as disease and disorder and hate and lies. He grinned, flat white teeth like gravestones, and twirled his little fish gutter in his fingers, flinging blood everywhere, rolling out the red carpet.
“Elka, you know I don’t mean you no harm.” His voice turned friendly. “I’d never hurt my Elka.”
He wandered around like a blind man, trudging through the snow, steam lifting off his body. Always hot after a killing. He was lean, carved out of wood some say, and but for the tattoos had a face you’d take home to your mother. He leaned up against a cottonwood tree, panting to keep the cold out, getting sick of hide-and-seek.
“Could a’ killed you a hundred times, girlie,” he said, slow. “Could a’ taken my pig sticker and cut your neck to navel while you slept. Could a’ peeled your skin off easy as boiled trout.”
I remembered all those years calling him Daddy and felt sick.
“Could a’ made my winter boots out of your back,” he carried on, voice getting more excited, smile getting bigger, like he was reeling off courses at a feast. “New belt out of your arms. Could a’ stuffed my mattress with your silky brown hair.”
He laughed and I felt sicker. He raised his knife, pointed it into the trees, right at my face though he didn’t know it.
“You’d make a fine pair of boots, Elka girl.”
Heard it all before but it didn’t stop the cold creeping up my back, cold that weren’t snow. Cold that weren’t ice and winter. I’d heard him say worse but never to me. I was still afraid of him, the things he’d done, the things he made me do. But damn if I wasn’t trying to turn it to good.
“All these months you been looking for me, Kreagar, and I found you first.”
I raised up my own knife. Weighted right nice for throwing. I told him in my head to stay there against the tree, told him don’t you move a muscle.
“I been worried something rotten for you, Elka. This world ain’t no place for a kid like you on your own. There are worse things than wolves in the dark. Worse things than me.”
But for the blood he could have been a normal Joe out on a stroll. But for the kid’s scalp swinging in the breeze, he could’ve been anyone. But he wasn’t. He was Kreagar Hallet. Murdering, kid-killing bastard Kreagar Hallet. Took me far too long to figure that out and no prettied-up words would change it now.
I stood up on the branch without making more’n a snowflake shudder and wound back my arm. Breathed out. Pictured him like a deer. Threw my knife with all the force I had, straight and true and hit him in that soft spot just below the collarbone. That metal went through his shoulder into that tree, pinned him hard, heard that wood thud you get during target practice. And I’d done a lot of target practice. Damn if that weren’t a perfect shot.
About the Author
Beth Lewis was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and great white sharks. She has been, at turns, a bank cashier, a fire performer, and a juggler, and she is currently a managing editor at Titan Books in London. The Wolf Road is her first novel.
Beth’s website is: www.bethklewis.co.uk
You can follow her @bethklewis