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  • Published: 16 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143779803
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

Once There Were Wolves

**A Journey into the Wild and the Human Heart**

From the author of the international bestseller Migrations comes a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands


"So damn good" Jeff VanderMeer, NYT bestselling author
"Changes you as you read." Laurie Frankel, NYT bestselling author
"This is a stunner." Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Ecology Meets Mystery

Inti Flynn arrives in the Scottish Highlands with fourteen grey wolves, a traumatised sister and fierce tenacity.

As a biologist, she knows the animals are the best hope for rewilding the ruined landscape and she cares little for local opposition. As a sister, she hopes the remote project will offer her twin, Aggie, a chance to heal after the horrific events that drove them both out of Alaska.

A Community in Turmoil

But violence dogs their footsteps and one night Inti stumbles over the body of a farmer. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, she makes a reckless decision to protect them.

A Tangled Web of Blame

But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And can she trust the man she is beginning to love when he becomes the main suspect?

A Story That Will Stay with You

Propulsive and unforgettable, Once There Were Wolves is the spellbinding story of a woman desperate to save her family, the wild animals and the natural world she loves, at any cost.

Why It Resonates

Achieving both literary and commercial acclaim, Once There Were Wolves serves as a compelling commentary on the urgent issues of environmental rewilding and violence against women. Brilliantly blending genres, this novel is perfect for fans of Emily St. John Mandel, Evie Wyld, and Hannah Kent.


Additional Acclaim

"A gripping and emotionally resonant journey." James Bradley, Sydney Morning Herald
"A suspenseful and poignant narrative." Scientific American
"Filled with ravishing descriptions of the landscape." Booklist
"A powerful meditation on humanity and nature." BookPage (starred review)
"Poetic... A lovely, gripping tale." Kirkus (starred review)
"Suspenseful... Urges us to take a lesson from the wolves." BookRiot
  • Published: 16 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143779803
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Once There Were Wolves, winner of the Indie Book Award for Fiction 2022 and a Nautilus Gold Award, and the international bestseller Migrations, a TIME Magazine Best Book of the Year and the Amazon.com Best Fiction Book of the Year for 2020, which is being translated into over twenty languages and adapted for film. She has both a Graduate Degree in Screenwriting and a Masters Degree in Screen Arts, and lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and son.

Also by Charlotte McConaghy

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Praise for Once There Were Wolves

A wildly talented writer.

Emily St. John Mandel

One of those very rare, special novels that changes you as you read, which you do as slowly as you can because you want to savor it, except the pages keep turning furiously because the story is so thrilling and so powerful, with some of the best characters I have ever read. Charlotte McConaghy has cemented herself as a sure-thing, must-read writer for me.

Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is

It is rare for a book to affect me so deeply I don’t want to talk about it, but truly, this is one of them. I just want to make everyone read it. Reading this felt intimate and life changing. It is quite literally magical, powerful and extraordinary.

Readings bookshop

Vivid and raw with feeling . . . despite the darkness and pain at the heart of McConaghy’s novel, it is not a bleak book. Instead, it bears within it an argument about the possibility of change . . . gripping and often very moving.

James Bradley, Sydney Morning Herald

This heart-pounding novel digs into the complex relationships between humans – and the creatures with which we share the natural world.


Suspenseful and poignant . . . [Inti’s] story unfolds as a meditation on the social and scientific consequences of influencing ecosystems, while reminding us that humans and animals alike can break our hearts.

Scientific American

McConaghy infuses Inti’s adventures with ravishing descriptions of the landscape and the ‘infinite mysteries of wolves’ . . . McConaghy's richly plotted tale of suspense and psychological insight poses provocative questions about predators and humanity's impact on Earth.


Intense, emotional and rich with beautifully rendered prose, McConaghy’s novel is a powerful meditation on humanity, nature and the often frightening animalistic impulses lurking within us all . . . Another triumph for a rising fiction star, offering an intensely realized world for readers to get lost in.

BookPage (starred review)

Vividly realized . . . Gorgeously rendered . . . A story full of subtle surprises . . . This is a stunner.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An affecting novel that will stay with you.


So damn good. A page-turner that makes you think and has a huge emotional impact.

Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of Annihilation (via Twitter)

Poetic . . . A lovely, gripping tale about a world that could be our own.

Kirkus (starred review)

A lyrical novel with a wild heart.


A moving, moody story by the author of the 2020 novel Migrations.


From the author of 2020's gorgeous Migrations comes a similarly earth-shattering tale of humanity's influence on the natural world.


Urges us to take a lesson from the wolves, and learn to lean on one another.


Blazing . . . McConaghy explores a core dilemma of the Anthropocene era: how to persuade people they should care about the fate of animals . . . Perhaps, she implies, fiction can do what science cannot: engender empathy and, subsequently, action. While McConaghy presents intelligent perspectives on the wisdom of rewilding, the book goes into deeper questions of epistemology . . . We are confronted by the limits of language every day. And as McConaghy shows in this stunning book, the limits of language lead us to the limits of empathy.

Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times

Awards & recognition

Sisters in Crime Davitt Award

Winner  •  2022  •  Adult Crime Novel

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Charlotte McConaghy Q&A

'I want reading my novels to feel like walking through a forest or swimming in the ocean, to offer a breath of fresh air and remind readers of the beauty that still remains in the world.'