Promise of the Wolves

Written by Dorothy Hearst
Review by Ann Chamberlin

Promise of the Wolves

Fourteen thousand years ago, a wolf cub named Kaala, born out of pack-lock, is spared the death her littermates share in order to fulfill a prophecy that humans and wolves will come to work together to save the balance of the planet.

Jean Auel gives this book a glowing blurb, and yes, I see many similarities between this book (whose subtitle “The Wolf Chronicles” promises more to come) and The Clan of the Cave Bear. Some of the hunting scenes are gripping. Often enough I found myself sucked in to thinking and sensing like a wolf.  Often, but not always.  Like later Earth’s Children installments, too often Hearst’s book slips into modern sensibilities. More than modern sensibilities, these are New Age sensibilities. Spliced into the main tale are flashbacks to 40,000 years ago at the time of the first human-wolf interaction. This wolf ancestress who returns to our heroine as a spirit-quest sort of guide—yes, Virginia, wolves, too, have spirit guides—did not work for me.

I am not completely certain even which continent we’re on.  In a note, the author tells us about her research trip to caves in southern France. And yet, the forest contains turkeys.  American continent then, before horses there were extinct?  No, little wolves hunt hedgehogs.  There are aurochs—although in my dictionary the singular has an “s” on it. And elkryn?  What are elkryn?  They must be the extinct Irish elk, not exclusively Irish, of course, and the author would have to avoid the word “Irish” long before Erin Go Bragh. Some explanatory note would have helped. There remains something very American and Yellowstoney about the whole thing.

Ann Chamberlin