In his debut novel, long-time Yukon wildlife biologist Bob Hayes takes readers back 14,000 years ago to an ice age when the frozen flatland of ancient Beringia covered most of what is now Siberia, Yukon and Alaska.
Zhòh: The Clan of the Wolf tells the story of Naali, Kazan and Barik, three youths who are alone and on the run after tragedy befalls their family clans. Along for the journey is a wolf cub Naali takes under her wing after a bear destroys the cub’s den and eats her siblings.
Part of the novel’s strength is the relationship between humans and animals who form the clans and packs that come to rely on each other for survival in an unforgiving climate where grass eaters like caribou and mammoth are becoming scarce, and ferocious lions are always lurking nearby.
At its core, Zhòh is a story of stewardship, of community and of knowledge sharing—but it’s also a story that carries all the ingredients of any good mythological adventure: brave hunters, wise shamans, a girl who speaks to wolves, and a ruthless, one-eyed giant whose heart is as cold as the snow.
The nomadic people in Hayes’ book are fictional, but his use of language, myth, and spirituality are based on that of the Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation in consultation with the Yukon First Nation’s heritage committee. Tools and technology used by this imagined people of the Pleistocene Epoch (the last glacial period) are crafted through research and interviews with Northern archaeologists and palaeontologists. Vivid descriptions in the book of Arctic wolves and how they move on the land flow from Hayes’ own fieldwork.
The Clan of the Wolf story continues in Hayes’ second book, Zhòh: The Spirit of the Wolf.
The North In Print - Uphere Magazine
Doug Sack's review of The Clan of the Wolf, Book One of the Zhòh Trilogy.
Doug Sack wrote a rousing review of Book Two of the Zhòh Trilogy,The Spirit of the Wolf. Click on the link here.
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