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The Work of Wolves

The Work of Wolves

4.5 14
by Kent Meyers

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When fourteen-year-old Carson Fielding bought his first horse from Magnus Yarborough, it became clear that the teenager was a better judge of horses than the rich landowner was of humans. Years later, Carson, now a skilled and respected horse trainer, grudgingly agrees to train Magnus's horses and teach his wife to ride. But as Carson becomes disaffected with the


When fourteen-year-old Carson Fielding bought his first horse from Magnus Yarborough, it became clear that the teenager was a better judge of horses than the rich landowner was of humans. Years later, Carson, now a skilled and respected horse trainer, grudgingly agrees to train Magnus's horses and teach his wife to ride. But as Carson becomes disaffected with the power-hungry Magnus, he also grows more and more attracted to the rancher's wife, and their relationship sets off a violent chain of events that unsettles their quiet reservation border town in South Dakota. Thrown into the drama are Earl Walks Alone, an Indian trying to study his way out of the reservation and into college, and Willi, a German exchange student confronting his family's troubled history.

In this unforgettable story of horses, love, and life, Carson and the entire ensemble of characters learn, in very different ways, about the strong bonds that connect people to each other and to the land on which they live.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The novel's fine characterizations, crisp dialogue and fully realized sense of place make The Work of Wolves compelling." -THE DENVER POST

"Kent Meyers's new novel is the kind of book that demands and rewards fierce loyalty . . . I instantly fell under its spell." -THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

Publishers Weekly
Meyers's third novel (The River Warren; etc.) is a gorgeously written, exacting exploration of duty and retribution set in dusty rural South Dakota. There's no love lost between horse trainer Carson Fielding and land baron Magnus Yarborough ever since a confident 14-year-old Carson got the better of Magnus in a horse buy. But Carson, now 26, is broke, and Magnus needs someone to train his horses and teach his wife, Rebecca, to ride. Carson and Rebecca fall for each other, and though their relationship remains in the realm of perfectly rendered, unconsummated desire, Magnus becomes convinced they're having an affair. In a bizarre act of revenge, he hides and starves the horses Carson trained. When two teenagers, Lakota math whiz Earl Walks Alone and German exchange student Willi Schubert, discover the abused animals, they plot with Carson to save them; alcoholic Ted Kills Many soon joins the mission. Meyers weaves the folklore and legend of Lakota culture with the tension between ranchers who have worked the land for generations and the greed of those who would take it away from them. His spare dialogue is brilliantly and often comically expressive, and Carson, his taciturn, rational hero, is an original and compelling character. Strong themes of generational responsibility and family history add resonance to this gratifying, very American novel. Agent, Noah Lukeman. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Meyers (The River Warren) sets his second novel in South Dakota, where he teaches English at Black Hills State University. In it, several different lives intersect on the edge of the Sioux reservation when a group of mistreated horses is discovered. Carson Fielding, a horse trainer who lives on a farm that has been in his family for several generations, is hired by wealthy landowner Magnus Yarborough to train said horses and teach Rebecca, his young wife, to ride. When Yarborough suspects that the lessons have led to something more, he takes out his anger on Carson through the horses, setting in motion a series of events that draws together Carson; Earl Walks Alone, a Lakota teenager who discovers the half-starved horses in a secluded pen; and Willi, a German exchange student with a troubled past. Along with another Lakota, Ted Kills Many, they devise a plan to free the animals from the vengeful and controlling Yarborough. A deeply felt tale of family ties and reverence for the land, this work should find a readership well beyond regional collections. Recommended for most public libraries.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Masterful detail of life on the Plains, in a third novel from Meyers. The author's The River Warren (1998) defied description, by genre or any other way, and this outing is much the same. It starts with a brilliant piece of horse-trading wit, mindful of Faulkner's "Spotted Horses" in The Hamlet. Cocksure 14-year-old Carson Fielding visits rich rancher Magnus Yarborough to buy his first horse, and Magnus foresees a beautiful fleecing. The lad points to a roan, saying, "I don't know if I seen a more worthless animal since I been born." Is this true or not? The reader can't tell-but it's Magnus who gets fleeced. The uppity roan later kills Carson's grandfather and when Carson tells Mom, she suggests calling an ambulance. "I didn't say hurt, Mom. I said dead. He's dead. He's laying out there dead." "You did. Yes. You did say dead . . . But how do you know?" "I know dead, Mom. I've seen dead." "I suppose you have." Faulknerian grim wit? Like Wild Bill, Meyers doesn't let on what fun he has with Carson's stony reasonableness. After graduation, Carson moves into his late grandfather's old house and soon becomes a respected hand with horses, so much so that Magnus hires the unwilling Carson, now 26, to train three horses for him and teach his wife Rebecca how to ride. Carson and Rebecca, who's a year or two older, grow closer and closer. She demands that they drive off onto far reaches of the ranch for their riding lessons. But then Meyers breaks the rules and what you expect to happen doesn't happen. Superb dialogue. And the same irony that emerges from the horse-trading emerges still more deeply from Carson in his climactic verbal face-off with Vaughn, as if about to fleece Vaughn of Rachel.Agent: Noah Lukeman/Lukeman Literary Management

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.03(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

KENT MEYERS is the author of The Work of Wolves, Light in the Crossing, The River Warren, and The Witness of Combines. He is a recipient of an ALA Alex Award, two Minnesota Book Awards, and a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association Award. His work has been included in the New York Times list of Notable Books and is published in a wide array of prestigious magazines.

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The Work of Wolves 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is essentially a story of fathers and sons, of honor and courage despite broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams. The author's craft in weaving a story about Carson, Earl and Willi, three very different characters, is masterful. Faced with a crisis, the characters follow their personal code of honor to resolve an ugly situation. A wonderful tale. Interesting to learn about the Lakota tribe and Nazi Germany. I read this in three nights and am recommending it to men and women alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read Twisted Tree at the end of 2009. I found it fascinating in the different viewpoints, in how the events unfolded from the different perceptions of different characters. The book was a combination of small town story telling method, the and the very long view of the philospher, steeped in Dakotas realities: weather, distance, loneliness, time to think and too much time to think. I then ordered Work of Wolves, and was even more impressed, for the same reasons and others. Kent Meyers' observations of animals is keen (I keep and love horses and they do define your life with their grace and the sadness of their dependency on us), and I savored his words. His characters were fascinating, I loved the description of the land -- I could see it all like I was sitting up at the water tower watching all the events unfold (read the book and you will understand). A wonderful book, not just for (or even for, at all) people who like "Westerns." This is, quite simply, a lyrical tale of what honor looks like and means when there is no reasonable choice for action. It broke my heart, and informed my moral compass, and it was beautiful to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read in some time. The writing itself is wonderful. The story is both inspiring and unpredictable. Kent Meyers takes an insightful and respectful approach to very different characters as they seek to cope and make sense of their difficult lives. In the end, it leaves one with a sense of hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book from the first pages picked it for my book club they loved it too
susanwarne More than 1 year ago
Sensitive, lyrical, spiritual - a gem of a book, beautifully crafted.
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Each character has his own story to tell whether it's growing up on a ranch or reservation. Well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my kind of story. It got a little bogged down toward the end but definitely give it a thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on a whim, and am pleased I did; the writing is so good and the story so wise I READ IT STRAIGHT THROUGH. This writer can write prose!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gender male crush mate pups no no no uh my fur color is goldish silverish redish i have blue eyes my peronality is meet me (i will update and do a better job im just tired its 2:25
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life is too short - find something else to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life of four young men, this writer is really talented.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago