The wolf wilder is the type of book you rarely find that has the perfect balance of adventure, fantasy, reality and friendship. It starts in the middle of a wood in the wilderness of Russia where Feodora and her mother live in a lone, cosy cottage. They are both wolf wilders. A wolf wilder is someone who trains wolves back to their natural ways of hunting, running and generally being wild after their rich or aristocrat owners get tired of them. They live a peaceful, comfortable life in sync with nature and Feodora (Feo for short) with her only friends; three wolves that live in an abandoned chapel near her home. They refuse to leave Feo and so live near her. They are White, the beauty of the pack, Grey, large and unwieldy and Black, fierce and lightning quick.
There had always been an army nearby but that had never been a problem for them- until now. Feo and her mother had been threatened by the army with its new ruthless, savage general, Rakov that if one of their wolves ever set foot in their territory, that wolf would be shot and their house would be burnt down. From then on they always kept a pack by the back door in case they had to make a run for it and tried to keep in the shadows as much as they could. The arrival of a newly born wolf pup and its mother means grave danger for Feo and her mother when the wolf steals a cow from the army and is shot dead. The army rampages their house and burns it to the ground and her mother is captured and taken prisoner. But Feo still manages to critically hurt Rakov with a ski.
Feo is barely able to escape and only does so with the help of her friend, Ilya, her age, who is a soldier but doesn’t want to be and together Feo and he decide to help her mother escape from prison. Together, with the help of White, Grey and Black, they get far enough away from the house but bump into Rakov. He wants to kill the girl but only succeeds in injuring White, who still survives. They again manage to escape and find themselves in the midst of a violent, glacial snowstorm. They are saved by a boy and his sister, with a baby, who are barely managing to scrape a living for themselves, living in a deserted village. The boy, Alexi, is an advocate for the people’s freedom from the Tsar or as they call him, an agitator, ‘someone who acts against the Tsar’. He agrees to give her information on St Petersburg, the city the prison is in if she agrees to try to start a revolution in the people in a nearby village as the only person Rakov is scared of. They go there and witness the injustices the army has cast upon them and try to rouse some support for their movement but the adults refuse. The children, however, agree and in a derelict, neglected castle they find a way, they train and prepare for a revolution that spreads throughout the whole city.
I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone, no matter their age or what genre they are interested in because in there, there is something for everyone.