From Publishers Weekly
The frigid isolation of European immigrants living on the 19th-century Canadian frontier is the setting for British author Penney's haunting debut. Seventeen-year-old Francis Ross disappears the same day his mother discovers the scalped body of his friend, fur trader Laurent Jammet, in a neighboring cabin. The murder brings newcomers to the small settlement, from inexperienced Hudson Bay Company representative Donald Moody to elderly eccentric Thomas Sturrock, who arrives searching for a mysterious archeological fragment once in Jammet's possession. Other than Francis, no real suspects emerge until half-Indian trapper William Parker is caught searching the dead man's house. Parker escapes and joins with Francis's mother to track Francis north, a journey that produces a deep if unlikely bond between them. Only when the pair reaches a distant Scandinavian settlement do both characters and reader begin to understand Francis, who arrived there days before them. Penney's absorbing, quietly convincing narrative illuminates the characters, each a kind of outcast, through whose complex viewpoints this dense, many-layered story is told. (July)
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"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
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