The Warlock and the Wolf: (The Naturalist, Book 1)

Written by Delfy Hall
Review by Joanna Urquhart

The Warlock & The Wolf, the first book in the Naturalist series, is an intriguing blend of fantasy and historical fiction in which Delfy Hall tells the story of a young orphan girl, Mina.

Mina is training as a scientist at The Hague of the 17th century, and although she is learning the empirical sciences at the dawn of the modern age and disavows primitive beliefs in superstition and magic, she herself has an ability to communicate with animals that prompts more than one character to call her a witch.

The man who killed Mina’s parents is likewise rumored to be a warlock, and when he escapes from prison and begins killing again, Mina is drawn into a confrontation for which she will need all her skills, natural or supernatural.

Hall’s portrayal of a Dutch Golden Age intertwined with magical elements of high fantasy feels uncannily believable, and Mina herself is a memorably wonderful character, compassionate and grounded as her personal world is thrown into chaos.

The book left me eager for its sequel.