A gripping story of a woman's struggle for justice in a man's world.
Through the marshes and rich farmland of the great river, Lupa hunts and is hunted by her husband’s murderers. On the estuary islands her sons and their protector are just one step ahead of the killers. Everyone underestimates Lupa, if they consider her at all. They are making a mistake. The odds may be against her, but Lupa is the daughter of a fox and the mother of wolves.
If you are looking for a novel with a strong heroine, look no further. Lupa is small of stature, but fiercely intelligent and big of heart.
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Here are some reviewers’ quotes:
“In Lupa, Mother of Wolves has a central character whose determination, bravery, and sheer magnetism keep you turning the pages.”
“A novel that both entertains and explores the difficulties a strong woman encounters in life, Mother of Wolves is a well written, character driven novel that draws the reader into a world that is little known.”
“Zoe Brooks has brought a masterpiece without being pretentious. Her simplicity in storytelling is unrivaled.”
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What inspired this story?
Three folk art pictures on the wall of a Czech castle from, I guess, the 18th century. They showed a gypsy hunt like the one in the novel. In many European countries. gypsies were hunted as vermin, no different than foxes. The tragedy of the Romany people has in some ways always been overshadowed by that of the Jews. They were/are rural, often illiterate, and poor. They also do not have and never have had a state or a leadership to speak for them. But what if there had been such a leader… The concept of an alternative history novel about the gypsies was born.
Why did you create a novel with a female protagonist? Wouldn’t it be more historically accurate if Lupa was a man?
One of the fun things about writing alternative history is that you can do just that – write women’s alternative history about a little gypsy woman. I have always been fascinated by women in history who become leaders despite everything. I wanted to explore what it would take for a woman to do that. Beside,s there are lots of adventure stories with men at the centre. I wanted to write an adventure novel for women. I wanted a female protagonist.
Where is the book set?
I was influenced by the way Ursula Le Guin created the fictional country of Orsinia, which is based somewhere in Europe. I have tried to do something similar. The action is set in an unnamed country at an unspecified time. But the countryside described in the book is based on the riverscape of the River Severn in England and so I did a lot of research into the history and customs of the area and the natural history of the river. Of course I researched the history and culture of the gypsies in depth, but I also included elements of other travelling cultures, most notably the travelling native peoples of North America.
Why is the book called Mother of Wolves?
At its simplest Lupa adopts two wolf-cubs whose mother has been killed by hunters. In the book Lupa’s people believe that each person has a spirit animal and Lupa’s is of course the she-wolf. Of course the title is also symbolic. As a leader and mother to her people Lupa transforms them from being hunted to being the hunters – “her wolves”.
How would you categorize Mother of Wolves?
The book is a historical fantasy/alternate history. But although this is a fantasy, there is not a lot of magic in the book: Lupa survives on her wits. Such magic as there is is based on the humans’ relationship with animals – Lupa with her spirit animal the wolf and the wise woman with her fox familiar.
Are there other books about Lupa?
Lupa appears briefly in Company of Shadows the third book of The Healer’s Shadow Trilogy.