I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Blackstone Publishing on August 30th 2016
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They took everything--killed his wife, enslaved his daughter, destroyed his life. Now he's a man with nothing left to lose ... and that's what makes him so dangerous.Ten years after the collapse, Huxley had built a good life again. He had a loving wife, a farm with fields of golden barley, and a daughter with a strange and wonderful gift. Then the slavers came. Working out in the fields during the attack, Huxley returns too late. His daughter has been taken and his wife is bleeding out, her last whispered words about a man with a scorpion tattoo on his neck.Where do the slavers go? Huxley has no idea. He only knows that they headed east and so will he, setting out on foot across the desert of the Wastelands. Eighteen months into his journey, he has no hope of ever seeing his daughter alive. Dying of thirst in the open desert, he doesn't even expect to see another day.Then a man appears out of the desert and offers Huxley water from his canteen, an unheard of kindness in these savage times. Jay is an odd man, full of violence and guided by his hatred of the slavers, but he helps Huxley survive. And he gives Huxley a new purpose: nothing can bring back the dead, but we can chase down the slavers and make them bleed.Together, Huxley and Jay carve a path of destruction across the remains of a once-great land. The slavers are brutal, but they have no idea what's coming for them. Huxley has found something to live for again: blood and vengeance. In his most powerful work yet, New York Times bestselling author D. J. Molles delivers a carefully woven novel of violence and redemption, bringing to life a devastating portrait of a man pushed to the edge of his own humanity.
If you are a lover of dark, tormented novels and are not at all squeamish when it comes to rape, death and gore then Wolves is most definitely for you!
Huxley, a man who once was a history teacher, husband and father has lost everything that once created his sense of self. When an apocalyptic event alluded to as the ”skyfire” destroyed civilization, Huxley and his young family fled the cities in search of a safe haven and found it for a time in a farming community. Huxley’s descent into darkness occurs when slavers come to the farming community causing pain, death and evil in swaths of blood. Now Huxley is focused on revenge. He will stop at nothing to find and kill the man who sold his daughter into slavery and murdered his wife.
Wolves is a strange novel that is equally dark and disturbing – a novel about revenge set in a world where slavers tear the jaws from victims as trophies can only be dark and grotesque. I don’t know if there was any other destiny for this novel beyond disturbing. The fact that Huxley does not differentiate from “bad guy” and “good guy” for a large portion of this novel did not bode well for Huxley’s future. Nor was it promising that the people Huxley surrounded himself with were equally as damaged and deranged as himself. In this end, this novel was about more than revenge; it was about taking ownership of one’s sins and the evils humanity.
Huxley is the villain and the tortured soul. The entire cast of characters commit horrific acts in the name of vengeance and in the end have lost themselves regardless of age or origins. They are irredeemable.
This novel is deceptively complex with the social commentary on societies build on slavery, the darkness of humanity and the inherent evil of a world without technology. Although there was a particular scene with a dog that almost made me stop reading this novel, the overall themes of this novel kept me reading. Wolves is most definitely not a light read, or something that many can read in one sitting. There is a darkness and heaviness to J.D. Molles’ writing that makes this a difficult novel to read. Nevertheless, the writing is superb and it is not at all evident that this novel is written by a man who generally writes military fiction.
Wolves has a unique and unexpected level of complexity that makes it worth the read – but it is definitely not a novel that can me devoured in one seating.
In the end, Wolves is a difficult novel to review since the novel is meant to make the reader face the depravity of humanity when faced with their most base and animal instincts. The lack of civility and humanity in many of the characters can make the characters not only unlikable to a reader, but irredeemable. I found that personally I hated each major character of the novel for their atrocities committed against innocent people and was woefully unsatisfied with the ending. I don’t think one character in this novel didn’t deserve to die in the end. However, the writing is masterful and the story is deeply enriched with details that make the story “real” on a sociological and psychological level.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy dark novels with excessive violence, westerns and post-apocalyptic literature. This book is not for the light of heart and should be read by those who are not squeamish when it comes to rape, murder and slavery. Wolves is a wonderfully complex and realistic post-apocalyptic western that is a one of a kind.