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The Empire of the Wolves: A Novel
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The Empire of the Wolves: A Novel

by Jean-Christophe Grange, Ian Monk (Translator), Ian Monk (Translator)

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The international sensation — a riveting and electrifying blend of mystery, terror, and tense, violent action

Anna Heymes fears she is losing her mind. The wife of a top-ranking Parisian official, she suffers from amnesia and terrifying hallucinations — a living nightmare made more horrifying when psychiatric testing reveals that


The international sensation — a riveting and electrifying blend of mystery, terror, and tense, violent action

Anna Heymes fears she is losing her mind. The wife of a top-ranking Parisian official, she suffers from amnesia and terrifying hallucinations — a living nightmare made more horrifying when psychiatric testing reveals that Anna has undergone drastic cosmetic surgery . . . though she cannot recall when or why.

In the tenth arrondissement of Paris, a rookie police inspector and a seasoned veteran called out of retirement investigate the horrific murders of three anonymous young women — illegal Turkish aliens who could not have deserved such a brutal, inhuman death.

From the murky night streets of clandestine Paris to the teeming fleshpot of Istanbul, two bizarre and terrible stories will become one — as prey and predator, manipulated and manipulator come together in a storm of blood and fury . . . in the hideous shadow of the wolf.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
French reporter turned author Grang (The Stone Council; Blood-Red Rivers) produces another grisly, Paris-set suspense novel, one that should help build his stateside audience. Chocolate shop worker Anna Heymes, 31, suffers horrifying nightmares and periods of extreme confusion ("memory gaps") so great that she's barely able to recognize her own husband, Laurent. Psychologists are stumped until Anna discovers scars on her scalp and is convinced that her face has been reconstructed-but by whom? and for what reason? Meanwhile, silver-haired, divorced top cop Paul Nerteaux investigates the murder of three female Turkish illegal immigrants, each of their bodies hideously mutilated beyond recognition. To aid in the bizarre case, Paul resurrects retired, ultra-shady "father of all cops" Jean-Louis Schiffer. Using heavy-handed tactics, Paul and Jean-Louis scour the Turkish quarter and infiltrate the Grey Wolves, a deadly right-wing political organization bent on finding the now unrecognizable Anna (aka Sema Gokalp, presurgery) since she's the sole witness to a kidnapping in a Parisian sweatshop. Unbeknownst to her, Anna was also an imprisoned "laboratory rat" for the Morpho project, a radical psychic conditioning experiment, but her questionable past is soon exposed. Grang 's gloomy, gray-hued Paris makes an apt backdrop for this gruesome thriller. The complicated scientific scenario shouldn't dissuade readers from enjoying this murky morsel. (Jan. 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Anna Heymes, housewife and chocolate-shop worker in Paris, is married to a successful administrator for the city's police force. The trouble is, her ordinary life becomes less and less familiar to her. Faces of people she knows seem strange, while complete strangers appear oddly familiar. Psychologists and neurologists can't determine a cause for her unique psychosis. Anna finds scars on her face and scalp, suggesting extreme plastic surgery, but she has no memory of having had it done. In a different thread, crafty cop Paul Nerteaux investigates the murders of three women, illegal immigrants working in sweatshops in the Turkish quarter. His theory is that a serial killer prowls the dark, dangerous streets of the ghettos. In over his head, he recruits Jean-Louis Schiffer, a retired cop with a mixed reputation who worked the area. Making full use of Schiffer's contacts and heavy-handed tactics, they learn that the murderer is an assassin for the Turkish Mafia sent to find a former employee who turned against the organization. The two threads finally come together, creating an exciting tapestry within this dark thriller. Grange makes excellent use of setting, adding layers of color to his tale. While some of the plot twists demand a high level of suspension of disbelief, the glitzy plotting moves the story at such a breakneck pace that readers barely have time to question the finer details. A fun and exciting ride not to be missed.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourth novel from French reporter-turned-mystery-writer Grange (The Stone Council, 2002, etc.), packed chock-full with extreme mutilations. Believing that you're not who you seem to be could be considered a trope of bourgeois Parisian life. But young housewife Anna Heymes turns out to be right. Suffering from memory loss, including the inability to recognize her husband, she wonders whether he's had plastic surgery. Well, one of them has, but it's not hubby: in the bathroom one day, Anna discovers that her entire face has been smashed and remade. Okay, then, time to scale the balcony and take off in search of the Truth. Meanwhile, back at the cop shop, a cute, idealistic young inspector named Paul and a grizzled, corrupt old flic named Schiffer (whom everyone refers to as the "Cipher") are on the trail of a serial killer who is butchering redheaded Turkish girls with an intimate ferocity that seems personal. (His techniques include removing their facial features.) As they bumble through the Turkish quarter, the pair begins to suspect that the true culprit may be the Grey Wolves, an elite organization of Turkish guerrillas whose ties to both right-wing politicians and organized crime scare the bejesus out of any potential witnesses. The Turks seem to be looking for a redheaded woman who double-crossed them. The newly liberated Anna, along with a chic psychiatrist sidekick, uncovers a brainwashing plot that has nothing at all to do with the Turks-though she finds she has skills more befitting a trained warrior than a housewife, as well as a red hairline. Soon, most of the characters meet up, and all goes to hell, leaving trails of wretchedly mutilated corpses across a couple of countries.The author's healthy appetite for merrily killing off any and all of his characters is not enough, alas, to add suspense to his tale.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Empire of the Wolves

By Grange, Jean-Christophe


ISBN: 0060573651

Chapter One


Anna Heymes was feeling increasingly ill at ease. The experiment was danger free, but the idea that someone could read her mind at that very moment deeply disturbed her.


She was lying on a stainless-steel table, in the middle of a shadowy room, her head inside the central opening of a white circular machine. Just above her face was a mirror, fixed at an angle, with small squares being projected onto it. All she had to do was announce what color they were.


A drip was slowly pouring into her left arm. Dr. Eric Ackermann had briefly explained to her that it was labeled water, allowing blood flow to be located in her brain.

Other colors appeared. Green. Orange. Pink ... then the mirror went dark.

Anna remained still, her arms by her sides, as though in a coffin. A few yards to her left, she could make out the vague, aquatic glassiness of the cabin where Eric Ackermann was sitting beside her husband, Laurent. She pictured the two men staring at the observation screens, observing the activity of her neurons. She felt spied on, pillaged, as though defiled in her closest intimacy.

Ackermann's voice echoed in the transmitter fitted in her ear: "That's fine, Anna. Now the squares are going to start shifting around. You just have to describe the movements. Just use one word at a time: right, left, up, down... ."

The geometric shapesimmediately started moving, forming a brightly colored mosaic, as vibrant and fluid as a school of tiny fish. Into the mike attached to her transmitter she said, "Right."

Then the squares rose to the top of the frame.


The exercise went on for a few minutes. She spoke slowly, monotonously, feeling more and more drowsy, the heat from the mirror adding to her torpor. She was about to drift off to sleep.

"Perfect," Ackermann said. "This time, I'm going to present you with a story told in a variety of different ways. Listen to each one carefully."

"And what am I supposed to say?"

"Nothing. Just listen."

A few seconds later, a female voice echoed in her receiver. It was speaking in a foreign language, with an Asian tonality.

A short silence followed. Then the story started again in French. But the syntax was all wrong. The verbs were all in the infinitive, the articles did not agree, the liaisons were incorrect... .

Anna tried to decipher this pidgin, but then another version started up. This time, nonsense words cropped up in the tale... . What did it all mean? Suddenly, silence filled her ears, making the cylinder feel even darker.

After a time, the doctor said: "Next test. When you hear the name of a country, give me its capital."

Anna was about to agree, but the first name was already ringing in her ears: "Sweden." Without thinking, she replied: "Stockholm."



"New Zealand."

"Auckland -- no, Wellington."



The capitals came to mind easily. Her answers were automatic, and she was pleased with the result. So her memory had not been completely lost. What could Ackermann and Laurent see on the screens? Which zones were being activated in her brain?

"Last test," the neurologist announced. "Some faces are going to appear. You must name them as quickly as you can."

She had read somewhere that a simple sign—a word, a gesture, a visual detail—could trigger a phobia. It was what psychiatrists called an anxiety signal. Signal was the right word. In her case, the very word face was enough to make her uneasy. She immediately felt she was suffocating. Her stomach became heavy, her limbs stiffened, and a burning lump filled her throat... .

A black-and-white portrait of a woman appeared in the mirror. Blond curls, sultry lips, beauty spot above her mouth. Easy.

"Marilyn Monroe."

An engraving replaced the photograph. Dark look, square jaws, wavy hair.


A round face, as smooth as cellophane, with two slanting eyes.

"Mao Tse-tung."

Anna was surprised that she could recognise them so easily. Others followed: Michael Jackson, the Mona Lisa, Albert Einstein... . It felt as though she were looking at the bright projections of a magic lantern. She replied unhesitatingly. Her uneasiness was receding.

Then suddenly, a portrait brought her to a halt. A man aged about forty, but with still-youthful looks and prominent eyes. His fair hair and eyebrows added to his look of an indecisive teenager.

A sensation of fear went through her, like an electric shock. Pain pressed down on her chest. The face looked familiar, but she could put no name to it. It evoked no precise memories. Her head was a dark tunnel. Where had she seen this man before? Was he an actor? A singer? An old acquaintance? The picture was replaced by a long face, topped with round glasses. Her mouth dry, she answered, "John Lennon."

The doctor finally replied. "It was Laurent, Anna. Laurent Heymes. Your husband." Continues...

Excerpted from The Empire of the Wolves by Grange, Jean-Christophe Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

Jean-Christophe Grange was born in Paris in 1961. Now an independent international reporter, he worked with magazines all over the world, as well as with various press agencies, before setting up his own news agency. Blood-Red Rivers, his second novel, became a huge bestseller in France and has since been made into a film, The Crimson Rivers, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel.

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