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Wolves of Eden

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  66 reviews
1866, Dakota Territory. Red Clouds coalition of tribes is battling the U.S. Army to reclaim hunting grounds in the Powder River Valley. Against this background, Wolves of Eden sets four men on a deadly collision course in a narrative that explores the cruelty of warfare, the power of love and the resilience of the human spirit. Lieutenant Martin Molloy and his loyal ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael and Thomas O'Driscoll wore "Union Blue" uniforms and bravely fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Friends and neighbors proudly soldiered side by side. In the aftermath of the war, now 1866, unlike the Union Army, the Regular Army seemed to be comprised of former toughs, drunks and thieves..."a band of filthy highwaymen", men working for $13/month and passage to the West".

Between 1866-68, Fort Phil Kearny was being constructed in Dakota Territory along the Bozeman Trail in
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
2.5 stars

Centered after the Civil War in 1866, with the Bozeman War at hand, Wolves of Eden follows two main plotlines capturing the hardships and resilience of four men entrenched between orders, corruption and murder.

Spanning over the armed conflict between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho on one side and the United States in Wyoming and Montana territories from 1866 to 1868, an area that was fought over for control of the western Powder River Country in present
Susan Kennedy
To start, this is not a book I would normally pick up to read. I love a good crime story, but not usually one that is a crime story back in a different historical time. I'm just not a history buff at all, never have been. With that said, I am not disappointed that I read this. I found Kevin McCarthy a very good writer. I enjoyed his writing down to the way everyone spoke. I could hear them speaking. It was good reading with an interesting story and great character development.

This is set back
Beej Jeffery
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a sucker for good Historical Fiction let me say I loved this book. Kevin McCarthy has done a creditable job with contextual narrative even down to what must be, imagined idiosyncratic dialogue.
He has particularly made a fist of the parallel storylines with little hint of the convergence until well into the novel.
Yes, there's minimal character background but the main protagonists hold strongly on their own. It's a little bloody for sure, but that's to be expected when a writer sets out to
Ron S
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty, literary historical fiction set during Red Cloud's War (1866-68) in the Dakota Territories. In the author's Historical Note he writes that "many of the events in the novel are as true to the historical record as I could make them within the bounds of fiction" before going on to note "the crimes perpetrated by the government and army of the United States on the Indigenous peoples of the American west are real. Fiction has nothing on them."

Amen to that.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The editors selected Wolves of Eden as one of the best 20 books of 2018, and for good reason. Kevin McCarthys writing is superb. Amazing to me is how he can create scenes totally unique from what Ive read in other books. I felt at times McCarthy actually walked amongst the characters and had a stop-action-watch so he could capture the entire scene. The book is not a fast read, partly because of the details and partly because time is needed to savor the writing.

Basic storyline: Two
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a laborious read, and not enough of any one aspect of the events to give it any forcefulness... after reading the afterword, i am even more at a loss as to what this book was attempting to show me... as an historical fiction, it does little to put the reader in the times, except by telling you it is the years in and around the US Civil War... there isn't much to ground you in the Indian Wars part either, sadly... as a murder mystery piece, it is too meandering and sporadic, and i don't think the ...more
Melissa Dee
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the aftermath of the Civil War, soldiers who have nowhere else to go and who are not fit for civilized society, head to the frontier where the battle to claim the west from the Indians is raging. McCarthy tells the story of these rough, crude, battle-scarred men with sympathy. As the plot lines of Wolves converge, the heartbreaking humanity of the best and worst of these devastatingly scarred men is revealed. ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent mix of historical fact and fiction

Engaging combination of well researched historical fact and plausible fiction. The plot was skillfully presented through several beautifully developed characters. Very engaging and fun to read!
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dont often read westerns but when I do I hope its by an author like Kevin McCarthy! A real feel with characters such as The ODriscoll brothers, Michael and Tom, Captain Malloy, Sergeant Kohn etc. unrecognized PTSD after the Civil War is in the forefront of the story. I also enjoy the style of two parallel stories converging as one. This is one I wont soon forget! ...more
Elizabeth Fisher
Was captivated by this novel. It's not a "western" - which I don't care for - but a realistic and historical portrayal of Army life out west just after the civil war. The characters were fully defined and sympathetic, the dialect spot on, and the plot never lagged. Definitely felt I was there in the Dakotas!
Derek Ford
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just read a nonfiction book about the Bozeman trail and Red Cloud, it is truly amazing the level of detail McCarthy puts into this historical fiction novel. It all checks out and makes for a compelling story. I enjoyed it very much.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its only the middle of March (just past the Ides) but Wolves of Eden will most likely be my favorite read of 2019. It is everything I love about books, and maybe the best western novel I have ever read.
It is first, the tale of Michael ODriscoll and his brother Thomas. They fled Ireland because of a killing and wound up in America just in time to do lots of killing as Civil War soldiers. But now the war is over and these very damaged brothers have decided to re-up, for the wages and grub. They
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And though they are dry & fast & it is frightening to be lost in them hillocky plains of grass well they do take onto their grassy tops the orange light of the rising sun while mist fills their dips & hollows so that you cannot take your eyes from the beauty of it. It makes you wonder if some day your cattle might graze that grass or will your children make hay from it or will your horse tramp the stream beds in search of wandering calves with the sun on your shoulders & a belly ...more
Victor Carson
The book reminds me a bit of the movie Dances With Wolves. Set in the same time period, immediately after the Civil War, among the Indians of the West, as the Army is establishing forts and protecting gold seekers and settlers on the Oregon Trail and the Bozeman Trail. The novel, however, depicts an even more bleak scene of broken war veterans, abuse of the Indians, lack of purpose and humanity. The main characters are Irish war veterans, both officers and infantry soldiers who have reenlisted ...more
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
Excellent. This author tells the entire story from two different viewpoints ... the Captain and his Lieutenant orderly as well as two of the lowest ranked privates. The privates are Irish immigrants that fought in the Civil War on the Union side. When the war was over they worked for several farmers for awhile, and then decided they might as well join the military again. Most of the story takes place at Fort Phil Kearney in Dakota Territory, 1866. I guess I am not well read on western military ...more
Gregory Lamb
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
McCarthy surprised me with detailed descriptions of a time shortly after the conclusion of the civil war in USA when the west was still wild and native Americans hadn't yet been displaced. The plot of this story hinges on the murder of two civilian settlers. Members of the US Cavalry were assigned to sort out the case and administer justice if required.

As McCarthy describes it, the land was harsh and the the characters in the story harsher still. A highly entertaining read with historical
John Harding
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical novel

McCarthy has done his homework and brought us a western
Novel accurate in the language, ethnic strife, and the resourcefulness of the people settling the west. The novel is well written and is an accurate rendering of the immigrant experience in settling the west. It reads fast. There is a touch of melancholy and impending tragedy in nearly every page which adequately reflects the settling of the west I the 1860,s--early 1870's.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book, as I don't recall seeing this subject being written about previously; that being the Irish who were inducted into the Union army upon arriving in America during the civil war. While this story is about the time just after when the army was establishing outposts in the west to protect gold miners in the Dakota's it is still a story relevant to the time and characters. It provides an insight not really covered by our history as taught in schools, yet should be. While ...more
Lee Cornell
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating historical fiction, told from two different points of view. This is not at all for the faint-hearted ...
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good historical fiction, though mostly historical, account of the US army fighting native Americans out west and the Irish immigrants fighting for the army.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting novel about life not the plains and the impact of the Civil War on a soldier's psyche and body.
Dalton Duhon
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best and most original books I've read in years. Compelling until the bitter end and stays with you after.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this. The first 100 or so pages started well, then everything fizzled out. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style to begin with, but I plowed through. In the end, the character development went nowhere and all suspense was lost after I realized I didn't care about any of the main characters.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bea-2018
I picked this book up at this year's BookExpo and finally got a chance to read it.

I liked it but cannot say that I absolutely loved it. The history of the conflict between Native Americans, the U.S. Army, and European immigrants is heart wrenching and gruesome, but it is a part of history that is often overlooked. It was very interesting to read a novel about these events.

The story itself was OK, and it definitely kept me on my toes, however, the writing style was difficult at times. I found
Tobias H Cook
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty genuine feel

Love how the author treats PTSD in the civil war aftermath. Great descriptions of life and battle on the frontier too.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just prior to starting this book, I read an article on how we have become a nation of "skim readers" and how this does a disservice to literature and ourselves. I noticed I had gone from someone who rarely quit a book, to someone who quit all kinds of books by page 50. So, I took this to heart and began this book.

The Skim Reader me, may have well quit this book by page 50. And how happy I am I didn't. The writing is superb. Only January and I have my first 5 star book (with only two in 2018).
Roger Boyle
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this for Xmas by KTD, who [sort of] knows the author.

I'd already had McCarthy recommended to me for "peeler" - he's gone on Irish historical stuff.

The book is an interleaving of a trooper's journal and a criminal investigation amidst the late 1860s Indian "wars"; the personalities of course have just emerged from the Civil War. McCarthy has done excellent background research and the descriptions and events are wholly compelling - more than once, I wondered if the research was so good
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very realistic depiction of a soldiers life on the frontier after the Civil War. The characters are well drawn and come from diverse backgrounds, which adds interest to the story. Violence is not watered down so this is definitely not a book for the faint of heart. The story dragged occasionally, otherwise I would have given it five stars. ...more
David Schwinghammer
It's rather surprising to see an Irish author write about the Indian battles in the West after the Civil War. McCarthy explains that by mentioning the high number of Irish soldiers who fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Fetterman Massacre and other battles.

This is really two stories in one. Brevet Captain Malloy and brevet Sergeant Kohn are sent to investigate who killed the sutler (general store owner) at Fort Phil Kearny. The sutler's relatives don't believe it was Indians. Malloy is
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Kevin McCarthy is the author of Peeler (Mercier, 2010), an historical crime novel set during the War of Independence in Ireland. His short fiction has appeared in many journals both in print and on the web and his story, Twenty-five and Out, appears in Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century (Liberties, 2011). He was born in Suffolk, UK, where his father was stationed ...more

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