Wolf Moon

Written by Julio Llamazares Kathryn Phillips-Miles (trans.) Simon Deefholts (trans.)
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

This story follows four ex-soldiers evading capture after Franco’s defeat of the Republican Army after the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Angel, Ramiro, his brother Juan, along with Gildo, find a cave not far from their home village where they can hide from the Guardia Civil and continue to stay. Should they be captured, they will be executed. At times, and at considerable risk, they visit their families, who provide them with food and warmth during the winter months. Avoiding capture for several years, they each have a price on their head and must avoid other villagers who could profit from their arrest.

In reading this novel, which is translated from the original Spanish, I discovered how little I know about the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. This well-researched account was first published in 1985 and covers the period after the civil war through 1946. The plot can be gripping at times, as the four ex-soldiers attempt to evade being captured. The mountainous terrain and the land they must travel through are richly evoked. The action is solidly paced, and the culture and politics of the era are effectively described, bringing this period of Spanish history to life. An enjoyable and enlightening read.