Synopses & Reviews
"Wolf winter," she said, her voice small. "I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is."
He was silent for a long time. "It's the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal," he said. "Mortal and alone."
Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.
While herding the family's goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson's widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.
As the seasons change, and the wolf winter,” the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family's survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.
"The time and place seem so remote as to be unearthly, and the style has a stealthy quality, like a silent fall of snow; suddenly, the reader is enveloped. The story creeps up and possesses the imagination; there's something eerie in the way half-understood and only half-seen events leave their mark. It's a powerful feat of suggestion, visually acute, skillfully written; it won't easily erase its tracks in the reader's mind."
Hilary Mantel, author of the Man Booker Prize-Winning Bestsellers Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
"Exquisitely suspenseful, beautifully written, and highly recommended."
Lee Child, #1 internationally bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers
"Swedish-born debut author Ekbäck writes with deliberate pacing and immerses the reader in the endless snowfall of winter with her hypnotic prose. The novel will appeal to readers who like their historical fiction dark and atmospheric, or mystery fans who are open to mysticism and unconventional sleuths. Readers who enjoyed the winter landscape and magical realism of Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child may also want to try this." Library Journal, Editors Fall Pick
"This snapshot of life in a place where winter can be unspeakably cruel, where simply staying alive is a victory, proves irresistible." Kirkus Review
About the Author
Cecilia Ekbäck was born in Sweden in a small northern town. Her parents come from Lapland. In Wolf Winter , her first novel, she returns home to the landscape and the characters of her childhood. Ekbäck now lives in Calgary with her husband and twin daughters.