Part historical thriller, part Swedish Gothic, debut novel Wolf Winter tells the story of a vicious murder that threatens to tear apart an isolated community during the coldest of winters.
Swedish Lapland, 1717: a group of disparate settlers struggles to forge a new life in the shadow of the grim mountain Blackåsen whose dark mythology lies at odds with the repressive, almost feudal control exerted by the church. Into this setting, Maija, her husband, and two daughters arrive, yearning to forget the traumas that caused them to abandon their native Finland and start anew.
Not long after their arrival, their teenage daughter Frederika stumbles across the savagely mutilated body of a fellow settler, Eriksson, in a picturesque glade. The locals are quick to dismiss the culprit as wolf or bear. Maija, however, is unconvinced and compelled by the ghosts of her past she determines to investigate a murder.
As the seasons change and a harsh winter known as a 'Wolf Winter' descends, Maija begins a dangerous quest to unearth the secrets that both her neighbours and the church have conspired to bury. Now as the snow begins to fall, she will come to know the full cost of survival demanded from those who would live in the shadow of Blackåsen - and the terrible truth about those who have paid the price.
The expression ‘Wolf Winter’ in Swedish (Vargavinter) refers to an unusually bitter and long winter, but it is also sometimes used to describe the darkest of times in one’s life — the kind of period that imprints on you that you are mortal and, at the end of the day, always alone. The old Nordic religions talked about fimbulvetr, ‘the large winter,’ that preceded the destruction of the world. Fimbulvetr happened when Fenrisulven, the ‘wolf of the wolves’, had eaten the sun…
Wolf Winter is dedicated to the women in our family who don’t sleep.
Hodder & Stoughton
Wolf Winter is coming in Paperback, November 2015