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The Work of Wolves

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  650 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
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-hun ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published July 11th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published June 7th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,332)
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Liz
Jul 01, 2016 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book because recently I've read several wonderful books set in the American West. It's not fun to write reviews for books that I don’t like but if I’m leaving a single star rating, I feel that I should explain why. I think I only persevered to finish this book so I could fairly give the rating. Admittedly, I was busy with moving into a new house at the time but, even considering that, it was a very slow read.

First and foremost is the overwhelming sense of exaggeration
...more
Matthew Copeland
Theoretically, if a book is written with enough skill, the subject matter won't be important. I picked this book up because I enjoy Western novels, but Meyers' writing is so good that it could have been about anything and I would have loved it. His settings are integral to the storyline and are characters of their own; his characters are expertly developed, dynamic, engaging, and so very real; the plot and subplots are delicate, complex and moving. This is not the book to pick up if you are look ...more
Denise
Oct 21, 2007 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is another one I recommend to anyone who will listen.

The writing is so beautiful in parts of this book that it's almost painful. I had to call my sister on the phone and read a passage aloud to her, in fact. (You'll read that as "Denise likes to inflict pain on her sister," but that's not really the point.)

When I read, I tend to enjoy good characters more than any other aspect of a story. This one's chock-full. I don't mean to diminish the value of the story -- the clash and uneasy alliance
...more
Jacqueline
I liked this book. There were some beautiful lyrical passages. There were thought provoking passages. There were interesting characters that I cared about. Somehow though the book didn't jell quite as much as perhaps it should have. Carson was such a smart, strong man starting from when he was a boy as the book opened that I felt that I expected more from him. That somehow even though he triumphed in some ways, in others he was blowing in the wind a bit. The book had such a strong beginning that ...more
Dana
A smart book about horses and how they bring three different cultures together. (Rural white, Native American, and European). A horse whisperer, a German "Lakota Sioux want to be" and a troubled and melancholy Indian are the main characters. The weakest character is the flatly written female protagonist. The author falls back on the "woman in peril" theme and could have done more. The characters are multi faceted and we hear their inner thoughts and are compelled to feel deeply about them. Emoti ...more
Andrea Patrick
Nov 08, 2010 Andrea Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so sorry I didn't like this book. I wanted to, because it was written by a Black Hills writer, but I just didn't. The story was threadbare and the dialect was hard to read and a poor reflection of how people talk where I grew up. It should be "You wanna go for a ride?" not, "You want a go for a ride?" That drove me crazy.

There were some good ideas that should have been more fully developed, like the Goat Man legend, and some ideas that probably belonged in another book, like all the Nazi stu
...more
Lindsey
Dec 26, 2010 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best stories I've read in a long time. There are really three protagonists (even if the back of the book describes Carson as the focal point), and the way Meyers develops each of their narratives is amazing. I've seen in some reviews that other people didn't like the subplot involving Nazi Germany, but I thought it connected seamlessly to the South Dakota storyline and provided more depth to the motifs and themes. I remember when Brian finished this book (several years ago now ...more
Daniel
Sep 22, 2010 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The Work of Wolves' is one of those rare books that in reading seems to have written itself. Obviously the author worked very hard to make this so and did a wonderful job of leaving the final draft free of himself to be stalked whole heartily by the surprising characters. I was in awe through most of the reading. It was a privilege to read and humbling. Up there with 'All the Pretty Horses', 'The River Runs Trough It', 'Legends of the Fall', and others that do not come to mind at the moment.
Paul
Jan 04, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is sort of billed as a modern day western, but it's not. It the story of a boy who has a way with horses and a love of the ranch land he lives on. These are not traits that his father shares, nor many others he is in contact with. Carson, the main character buys his first horse from the richest landowner named Magnus, a man who is never happy unless he is getting the better of someone. He doesn't get the better of Carson with the sale of the horse, nor during any of their future intera ...more
Penny
May 25, 2009 Penny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books where you are still thinking about it a week later. I love well developed 'interesting' characters and this book delivered it! Having grown up and living in South Dakota (setting of the book), it was a lot of fun to read sections describing the people/biases/landscape etc. The descriptions were right on target!
Gabriela Cowperthwaite
I loved this book. It was humble and quiet but was so beautifully written. I just loved being inside this world.
Tony Taylor
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 e ...more
Jane
Aug 31, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite quotes:
“White people have a funny way of doing things. They find a forest; they cut it down so they can settle there. They find a prairie; they plant trees so they can settle there. Find a swamp, they drain it, but if they find a desert, they make a lake to irrigate it. Backwards thinking.”
“People do not realize when they have crossed a boundary. This is so. They do not feel special. They do not feel blessed, and they do not feel cursed. Mostly, they just feel confused. They just think
...more
Valerie
Jan 07, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love to read as much as I do, you will understand what I am about to say. This is the best book I have read in a long time. Very well written, with rich language that is engaging and eloquent. For me, it's the type of book that taught me something about myself as I was reading it. Which in this case, I find profound because all the characters in this book undergo quite a bit of self realization and discovery. Their experiences of awareness in this book, to be able to extend to the reader, ...more
Amy
May 30, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really surprised myself with this book. As a South Dakotan myself for my entire life, I've tried and failed to read works published by South Dakotans - they just haven't been up to snuff. I know how snobbish that sounds on my part, but I just haven't been all that impressed before. When I started The Work of Wolves, I fully expected that I'd read about 50 pages and then dump it. What I didn't expect and was pleasantly surprised by was that I actually really enjoyed the story and the writing. A ...more
Melissa Norton
Jan 03, 2010 Melissa Norton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent....A well-written and evocative novel set in modern-day South Dakota. Horse trainer and rancher Carson Fielding reluctantly takes a job working with the horses of a local land baron, a deal that includes teaching his employer's much-younger wife Rebecca to ride, and it is a business arrangement that will have far-reaching consequences.
Author Kent Meyers creates an exemplary sense of place in this book -- a few sentences about discarded plastic grocery bags convey the evolution and ero
...more
Marie
Oct 05, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting spin on a "western" novel. The story is quite intriguing, how 4 young mens' lives become intertwined because one of them happened to see some horses that weren't meant to be seen. There's a little bit of romance, but the overwhelming theme of the story is more one of self discovery. There's some themes involving the destruction caused by greed and the need for power and control; lessons in human integrity, love, devotion, and how right and wrong are determined. Overall, a very goo ...more
Lois
Jun 08, 2013 Lois rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Not the type of book I would usually be attracted to but it was GREAT! It is now on my husband's stack-of-books-to-read but I've moved it to the TOP of the stack. We visited The Badlands recently so I could visualize the area; the writing was POETIC at times! I'm always in awe of authors who can find the words that make me say "how did he come up with those words? To express THAT feeling, thought, emotion." The story has such a mix of characters, a thread of compassion and lov ...more
Denise
Dec 12, 2008 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
This story of 4 young men drawn together through chance circumstance and their willingness to confront a terrible wrong is well told and engaging.

I love Meyers' description of and feeling for the land. Having spent a decade at the edge of the area he's describing, I particularly appreciate his characters' psychological and spiritual ties to the land. It's fun, too, to recognize things like the music store where someone bought a piano.

I wouldn't call it a perfect novel, but I think it's very go
...more
Nicole
Nov 07, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I kept walking passed this book on the shelf at my local library. I'd take it down, read the back cover, read the first page, put it back. The third time I saw the book still sitting there, I checked it out and haven't been able to put it down yet. Meyers has a gift for creating characters that could easily be cliches, but instead are unique, original beings whose lives immediately interest the reader. I am only about halfway through it and can't wait to find out what happens.

Okay, stayed up wa
...more
Margery
Feb 27, 2011 Margery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
That's really two stars for the plot and four stars for the writing. I will definitely look for Meyers other books. He describes each locale so well, whether a broken down trailer on the Lakota "res" or a faded and forgotten apartment in Germany. I fell in love with him when I read the description of migrating sandhill cranes stitching two continents together with their long beaks (can't find it to quote now :( There was too much violence and hatred in the "enemy" for me to feel comfortable read ...more
Nancy
Jun 13, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
A Western set in a small Montana town involving the evil big rancher buying up all the land and mistreating everyone and everything he comes in contact with. Carson is the main character, a quiet young man with heart and soul. He evolves from being a loner to getting 3 others to take action to deal with some mistreated horses. There are many subplots dealing with boundaries, family ties, father-son relationships, past historical events effecting current behavior. It is a manly story, but I enjoy ...more
Staff Favorites
Carson Fielding is hired to train horses for the rich landowner Magnus Yarborough. As Carson becomes disaffected with the power-hungry Magnus, he grows more and more attracted to Rebecca, Magnus' young wife. It is their growing involvement that sets off a cruel act of revenge and counter acts of rebellion.

This is a vividly described novel about relationships, the meaning of love, cruelty, family and history as reflected through the lives of an assortment of unique and strong characters. A though
...more
Emily
Aug 22, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I will preface by saying that this book was required summer reading for my AP English class this year, which was the only reason I picked it up.

I am quite glad I did.

I have minimal interest in horses and even less in Westerns. I'm sick of World War II stories and I probably spend less time outside than I spend doing my homework.
None of these things mattered.

Myer does a spectacular job using the tools of horses and Westerns and World War II to shape the characters of the story, who I found to be
...more
Lana Hasper
Feb 24, 2016 Lana Hasper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Noelle Thompson
Sep 02, 2013 Noelle Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I'm so grateful for a talented South Dakotan author like Meyers. He so accurately captures the attitudes and atmospheres of western South Dakotans. I guess you could call this a modern day "cowboys and Indians"; same brute and inner turmoil but with contemporary drama of poverty, love, loss, and the age-old question of who truly defines "ownership." The only blemish was a side-story involving a German exchange student and his family drama tied to Nazi Germany. But still a must-read.
Kerry
Nov 03, 2012 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actually this should get 6 stars. What a great read, well written, moving. My only complaint is that he should have ended the book when Ted said, "It'll make a good fire". The last few chapters wrapping up were distracting to me from the overall feel of the bond of the three friends and the feel of moving on and the bittersweet-ness of life and the connections between people that make it so worthwhile.
I plan to read more by Meyers.
Randine
Oct 04, 2012 Randine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one is really good. A modern story about an extremely independent, taciturn horse trainer who gets involved with a couple who need some horses trained and of course it all goes to hell from there. The reservation Indian family is really important to the weave of this story and the German exchange student is like an unexpected color too. It's tense and thoughtful and delicate.
Kelli
Aug 14, 2014 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is not the type of book I would ordinarily choose to read, but I selected it due to a recommendation. The subject matter does not interest me, however I was immediately drawn in by the writing, which was absolutely gorgeous. This is a gifted writer telling a beautiful story about friendship, love, power, struggle, and the things that connect us all. I loved it.
Linda
Nov 06, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When this book was first recommended to me and I found out it was a "Western" , my first thought was ugh! That was until I started it. There are characters and images that will stay with you for a long, long time. One of the images, the plastic shopping bags stuck in the branches of the trees, long after the market was gone. Very symbolic and very sad.
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