The Wolves of Eden
Dakota Territory, 1866. Following the murders of a frontier fort’s politically connected sutler and his wife in their illicit off-post brothel, Lieutenant Martin Molloy and his long-suffering orderly, Corporal Daniel Kohn, are ordered to track down the killers and return with “boots for the gallows” to appease powerful figures in Washington. The men journey west to the distant outpost in a beautiful valley, where the soldiers inside the fort prove to be violently opposed to their investigations.
Meanwhile, Irish immigrant brothers Michael and Thomas O’Driscoll have returned from the brutal front lines of the Civil War. Unable to adapt to life as migrant farm laborers in peacetime Ohio, they reenlist in the army and are shipped to Fort Phil Kearny in the heart of the Powder River Valley. Here they are thrown into merciless combat with Red Cloud’s coalition of Native tribes fighting American expansion into their hunting grounds. Amidst the daily carnage, Thomas finds a love that will lead to a moment of violence as brutal as any they have witnessed in battle—a moment that will change their lives forever.
Blending intimate historical detail and emotional acuity, Wolves of Eden sets these four men on a deadly collision course in a haunting narrative that explores the cruelty of warfare and the resilience of the human spirit.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Kevin McCarthy
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published: November 6th, 2018
Publishing House: W. W. Norton Company
Centered after the Civil War in 1866, with the Bozeman War at hand, Wolves of Eden follows two main plotlines capturing the hardships and resilience of four men entrenched between orders, corruption and murder.
Spanning over the armed conflict between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho on one side and the United States in Wyoming and Montana territories from 1866 to 1868, an area that was fought over for control of the western Powder River Country in present north-central Wyoming.
Irish man Captain Martin Molloy is still haunted by his actions in the war and he drinks it away. Jewish Corporal Daniel Kohn is caring for him and garners some of the spirits by doing so…just a few perks of the job. Unsure how Molloy will fair and trying to keep him from drinking to death, the two of them have to succumb to orders that take them out west to investigate the murder of the sutler and his wife at Fort Phil Kearney. Once there, the corruption, illegal activities and trouble awaiting them, prove a serious challenge to investigate.
In the meantime, hopping from little farming jobs to the next, Michael and Thomas O’Driscoll, Irish immigrant brothers, have returned from the front lines of the Civil War. Adapting poorly to this new life, they seek a chance and reenlist into the army to better their living. They are shipped right away to Fort Phil Kearney into the heart of the Powder River Valley where the merciless combat between American soldiers and the Red Cloud’s coalition of Native tribes is happening. Amidst it all, Thomas falls in love as battles escalate around. Here they will be challenged with worst combat situations they have ever been put through.
My interest and enjoyment of history and historical novels, if fiction or non-fiction, led me to request this title from Netgalley. I did not expect it to read like a textbook, nor did I hope to gain or seek knowledge of such kind from reading it. As I would consider my interest to be of leisure, I cannot attest or confirm the details of the research done for the backdrop of this novel. I do feel confident to say that I would imagine the characters speech patterns or wording between immigrants and military jargon to be of authentic sound.
Despite my interest in the matter, I found it difficult to become really invested in this novel. Perhaps it is a lack on my part versus the author’s fault, but I found the pacing of the novel to be of much variance sometimes. The characters were also a bit two dimensional for me. The space of the novel was all filled, but the depth I was seeking in the characters lacked for me. Personally, I do enjoy more emotional intricacies to be vested in the story, albeit I do understand or believe, that was not the purpose of the novel. The time period and subject matter definitely required strong characters.
I received a digital copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.