Male and female wolves have the unique ability to form long-lasting, deeply emotional bonds. This is the astonishing true story of two such wolves.
Wolf 21 and Wolf 42 were attracted to each other the moment they met in Yellowstone Park – but Wolf 42's jealous sister hindered their relationship. After an explosive insurrection within the pack, the two wolves came together at last as alpha male and alpha female of the Druids, which, under their benevolent leadership, became the most successful wolf pack in Yellowstone history. Renowned wolf expert and Yellowstone's first-ever wolf interpreter Rick McIntyre recounts their fascinating lives with compassion and a keen eye for detail, drawing on his more than twenty-five years of experience observing Yellowstone wolves in the wild.
The story of Wolf 42 and Wolf 21 is a remarkable work of science writing, offering unparalleled insight into wolf behaviour and Yellowstone's famed wolf reintroduction project. It's also a heart-wrenching love story with a cathartic ending, providing further evidence that the lives of wolves are as eventful – and important – as our own.
Rick McIntyre has spent more than fifty years watching wolves in America's national parks, twenty-five of those years in Yellowstone, where he has accumulated over 100,000 wolf sightings and educated the public about the park's most famous wolves. He has spoken about the Yellowstone wolves with 60 Minutes, NPR, and CBC, and he is profiled extensively in Nate Blakeslee's American Wolf and in international publications. He lives in Silver Gate, Montana.
Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"A redemption story, an adventure story, and perhaps above all, a love story."
– Nate Blakeslee, New York Times-bestselling author of American Wolf
"Like Thomas McNamee, David Mech, Barry Lopez, and other literary naturalists with an interest in wolf behavior, McIntyre writes with both elegance and flair, making complex biology and ethology a pleasure to read. Fans of wild wolves will eat this one up."
– Kirkus starred review
"Like Darwin, McIntyre is an inclusionist and is thus able to enter the hearts and minds of wolves, providing us with a consummately rounded picture of their lives. Along the way, he creates a fully realized world that stands whole and sublime alongside our far more troubled human one."
– Mountain Journal
"A gripping tale of triumph and loss told with an unsurpassed appreciation for the wolves of Yellowstone and the natural world they inhabit."
– Bernd Heinrich, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Vermont and author of Mind of the Raven
"I'm always eager for the next book by Rick McIntyre. I learn so much fascinating information about wolves and their interactions with each other and with their prey."
– L. David Mech, author of The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species, now in its 50th year in print
"It is the way [Rick McIntyre] sees wolves – as fellow social beings with stories to share – that makes his books so powerful."
– Ed Bangs, former US Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery coordinator for the Northern Rockies
"This book is a treasure."
– Douglas W. Smith, PhD, Yellowstone Wolf Project Leader, Yellowstone National Park
"Rick is constantly collecting information – from his own observations and those made by others. He is a researcher to the bone and an amazing witness to the wolves' incredible stories."
– Scott Frazier, Crow/Santee, director of Project Indigenous
"In his second book on Yellowstone wolves, Rick McIntyre provides a riveting history about a powerful dynasty, a wolf pack called the Druids. There were palace revolutions, despotic leaders, and interlopers to contend with, overlaying the incredible daily challenge of making a living with just teeth and feet. Life begets life, and this fascinating story is dominated by the overwhelming strength of family bonds, bravery, and benevolence."
– Rolf Peterson, Michigan Technological University, author of The Wolves of Isle Royale: A Broken Balance
"Rick brilliantly weaves the dramatic life-story of wolf 21 through the intertwining of his life with the different personalities of his mate wolf 42, their sons and daughters, and members of nearby packs. As a story teller, Rick generates great compassion in the reader – a fitting antidote to the hatred and indifference that still plagues this long-persecuted species."
– Dr. John and Mary Theberge, wildlife ecologists, wolf biologists and authors
"Wolves are possessed of an ancient and enduring wisdom. This is why old-time Indians used to spend the kind of time watching wolves that Rick has, and for the same reasons – to learn FROM them, not just ABOUT them."
– John Potter, Anishinaabe wildlife artist
"If ever there was a 'perfect' wolf, it was Wolf 21. He lived an outsized life, more like an action hero than a real creature. And no one knew him better than master storyteller Rick McIntyre."
– Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild
"No wolf's life has ever been laid before us in such detail and with such rich analysis."
– Norm Bishop, director of the Wolf Recovery Foundation and co-author of Yellowstone's Northern Range: Complexity and Change in a Wildland Ecosystem