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The Work of Wolves

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  846 ratings  ·  145 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
Paperback, 407 pages
Published July 11th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published June 7th 2004)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  846 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Mar 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
'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.
Jacqueline J
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
Andrea Patrick
Oct 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Carol E.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This story takes place in Montana. Four very different characters come together to accomplish a daring task... a cowboy, an Indian teen, an exchange student from Germany, and an uncle. As they work together they learn about each other, and they benefit from the unique skills each person brings to the job. There is a rich and cruel rancher, a smarmy sheriff, horses, and a few other interesting characters dotting this adventure as well.

I liked the story and most of the writing. Some of it was quit
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is beautifully written.

An example, "They felt they would never leave what they'd just done. it would always be close. Always proximate. None of them knew a word in any language for what they were feeling: regret that is not regret, regret that points not to futility and uselessness but to necessity and so demarcates the stark but not barren outlines of the world. None of them had a word for this. They had to let their silence speak it."

The author might just have easily said, "they ret
Randy A
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty decent book. Lots of "down-home" flavor.
Lacey Louwagie
PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge Item: A book by a local author

This is one of those literary fiction books that you need to devote the time and attention to just sink into. It has complex characterizations, meandering sentences, long paragraphs -- but gorgeous language and a sense of life's inherent beauty and tragedy that makes all the effort worth it.

I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if it wasn't written by the son-in-law of a man I once taught in a writing class -- he was always so
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Tony Taylor
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Red Road, the Black Road, the Green Road - which will Earl Walks Alone follow? What exactly are they? Willi Schubert has come to South Dakota from Germany to pursue the older knowledge of the Lakota, the Ancient Way. Will he find that "cages are everywhere" as his grandmother has predicted or will he be able to come to terms with his troubled heritage? Carson Fielding has an uncanny rapport with horses, but can he bridge the chasm dividing him from his father? Can the Goat Man really make ho ...more
Staff Favorites
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-clubs
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
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Noelle Thompson
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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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