Today I talked to Rick McIntyre about the first two books of his ongoing The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series.
The first book we discuss, The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog, introduces us to the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park was once home to an abundance of wild wolves—but park rangers killed the last of their kind in the 1920s. Decades later, the rangers brought them back, with the first wolves arriving from Canada in 1995. This is the incredible true story of one of those wolves. Wolf 8 struggles at first—he is smaller than the other pups, and often bullied—but soon he bonds with an alpha female whose mate was shot. An unusually young alpha male, barely a teenager in human years, Wolf 8 rises to the occasion, hunting skillfully, and even defending his family from the wolf who killed his father. But soon he faces a new opponent: his adopted son, who mates with a violent alpha female. Can Wolf 8 protect his valley without harming his protégé?
The second book we discuss, The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack, continues the story.
In this compelling follow-up to the national bestseller The Rise of Wolf 8, Rick McIntyre profiles one of Yellowstone’s most revered alpha males, Wolf 21. Leader of the Druid Peak Pack, Wolf 21 was known for his unwavering bravery, his unusual benevolence (unlike other alphas, he never killed defeated rival males), and his fierce commitment to his mate, the formidable Wolf 42. Wolf 21 and Wolf 42 were attracted to each other the moment they met—but Wolf 42’s jealous sister interfered viciously in their relationship. After an explosive insurrection within the pack, the two wolves came together at last as leaders of the Druid Peak Pack, which dominated the park for more than 10 years. McIntyre recounts the pack’s fascinating saga with compassion and a keen eye for detail, drawing on his many years of experience observing Yellowstone wolves in the wild. His outstanding work of science writing offers unparalleled insight into wolf behavior and Yellowstone’s famed wolf reintroduction project. It also offers a love story for the ages.
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.
Mark Molloy is the reviews editor at MAKE: A Literary Magazine.