Hunger Makes The Wolf by Alex Wells

March 10, 2017

The strange planet known as Tanegawa’s World is owned by TransRifts Inc, the company with the absolute monopoly on interstellar travel. Hob landed there ten years ago, a penniless orphan left behind by a rift ship. She was taken in by Nick Ravani and quickly became a member of his mercenary biker troop, the Ghost Wolves.

Ten years later, she discovers that the body of Nick’s brother out in the dunes. Worse, his daughter is missing, taken by shady beings called the Weathermen. But there are greater mysteries to be discovered – both about Hob and the strange planet she calls home.

I immediately took to Hob Ravani. I’ll admit it might have been initially due to the cocky attitude, motorcycle, and eye-patch, but it turns out that there is much more to her than that. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and will gladly do anything for them. Her adopted father, Nick, is a cantankerous old so and so, but he looks after his own. He has a strong sense of justice and if he sees something wrong he’ll fix it. He has instilled that same sense of morality in Hob. The downtrodden of Tanegawa’s World are her kin, and if they are suffering she’ll sort it. Heaven help the person, or intergalactic space monopoly, who get on Hob’s bad side.

The rest of the biker gang, the Ghost Wolves, are an eclectic bunch. There is a scoundrel called Coyote who is my personal favourite. His life before joining the Wolves is a closed book, well, for a while anyway. I’m sure we’re all in agreement, what good is a murky past if it doesn’t come back to haunt you. I’m curious to see where this thread of the narrative will lead in the future. There is certainly a suggestion that there is more still to be revealed.

Thinking about it, there is an air of mystery that surrounds just about everything and everyone on this planet. Who, or what, is the enigmatic Bone Collector? Why is he so interested in Hob and her friends? Why are TransRifts Inc so insistent in working the local miners so hard? Who or what are the Weathermen, and will Hob survive long enough to discover anything close to answers to these questions?

I’d like to think that one day, mankind will properly explore the universe. We’ll travel to habitable planets and make them our home. What will happen to us then? Perhaps we will begin to change. Maybe some of us might end up not really being human any more at all. Will this change be caused by evolution, mutation or something more akin to “witchyness”? On Tanegawa’s World, the latter certainly seems to be the case. Hob and Nick both exhibit abilities that could easily be described as magic. The Bone Collector is also more than a little mystic in nature.

As has become my habit, I like to find some music to listen to while I read. My musical recommendation for Hunger Makes The Wolf was a no-brainer. The Firefly soundtrack by Greg Edmonson, he of Uncharted fame, is the perfect companion. Tanegawa’s World feels like it could easily be a place where Mal Reynolds and crew could find themselves. More than likely he would have dealings with the likes of the Ghost Wolves. Dammit, now that I’ve started thinking about this as a crossover I need it to happen. That would be all kinds of awesome.

I’ve said in the past that science fiction is the genre I have the most difficulty getting into, but books like Hunger Makes The Wolf are making me start to revise this opinion. I have to commend Alex Wells, this book was a genuine pleasure. Just goes to prove, irrespective of genre, you can’t go wrong with well-rounded characters and a plot that zips along at a good pace. Well done sir, well done. This is a cracking debut. I look forward to the Ghost Wolves returning in the future.

Hunger Makes The Wolf is published by Angry Robot Books and is available now.

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