The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell JohnsonThe Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

The Wolves of Winter

byTyrell Johnson

Paperback | January 2, 2018

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Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed.

As the old world dies, we all must choose to become predators. Or become prey.

The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink.

Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre‑war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold.

Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. Reminiscent of Station Eleven and The Hunger Games, this is a classic and enthralling post‑apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit.
Title:The Wolves of WinterFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:January 2, 2018Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501155733

ISBN - 13:9781501155734

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exciting I loved this book! I couldn't put it down... for the most part. The only issue I had with it was the two sexual assault scenes. Totally unnecessary and nauseating, completely ruins it when you're enjoying the story. For that, I can't give this book five stars. I would have if those parts were omitted.
Date published: 2018-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read I enjoyed the post-apocalyptic theme of this book, partly because I feel that we're actually much closer to our own real apocalypse than most people realize. It was good-paced read with just enough background information to help the reader know why things are the way they are, without inundating them with too much history & taking away from the narrative.
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice debut novel Lots of action, but the real star of the book is the main character, Gwendolynn. At 23 years old, she has had to survive the death of a parent, civilization and law. She is introspective and passionate about her family and their continued survival, but she turns out to be so much more than that. I certainly liked her as a character, even if she was at times too quick to go from emotionally compromised to cold blooded, jump into action heroine. The emotional roller coast never slowed down. Things were a bit predictable in the end, but it was quite the adrenaline ride right up until its conclusion.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I thoroughly enjoyed this I read this in a matter of a few days, which is much quicker than I normally read books. I'm in nursing school, and don't have much time for pleasure reading. I thought the writing was pretty decent, and varied. (I hate when writers use the same vocabulary and descriptive words repeatedly.) I think I was most impressed with how well the male author understood his female protagonist, and was able to write from her perspective. I could totally relate to a lot of the emotions she had, and know exactly where she was coming from as a like-minded female. I recommended this to my sister and a close friend to read.
Date published: 2018-06-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good enough I am a fan of dystopian fiction, so I was set up to like this book. I did, but with reservations. The basic scenario is all too believable in the current era, but the overlay story turned the plot more to science fiction. And that's where it lost me. The writing is good but far from great.
Date published: 2018-05-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay This book was a quick and easy read. Predictable and a bit childish but it was okay.
Date published: 2018-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't live up to the hype After reading all the rave reviews about this book I decided to read it. Definitely did not live up to the hype. I did finish it but I found the story to be rather pointless, people trying to survive after a flu pandemic with nobody bu themselves to rely on put in danger by a secret that is being hunted. Somehow I feel like I have read that story before. The so-called secret was pretty easy to figure out early on and the good triumphs over bad theme is pretty much standard. I think many of the reviews have tried to read too far into it in order to make it better bu putting some hidden meanings into the plot and words, but I find that a lot with reviews. I read for the pure enjoyment and escapism that an author can provide. This provided neither for me. I gave three stars because I did find the writing to be fairly decent and it was short. I'm actually glad I didn't pay full price for it and that is something I rarely say about a book.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intriguing! Loved this book from the start - read in 2 sittings. We can so relate to what is happening in the world right now. Fantastic debut! Cannot wait for the next.
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book It was a really good book, would recommend. It starts off slow but give it a chance because it will pull you in.
Date published: 2018-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I have always been a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre and this book was a good read. It was also a quick read. I agree with others; the ending definitely hints at a sequel to come (very open-ended.) An entertaining read!
Date published: 2018-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A stunning debut that left me with chills. "I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end, But I do not talk of the beginning or the end. There was never any more inception than there is now, Nor any more youth or age than there is now, And will never be any more perfection than there is now, Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now." AS THE OLD WORLD DIES, It's been over seven years since 23-year-old Gwendalynn "Lynn" has used electricity, eaten a Fruit Roll-Up, worn a bra—yup, those good ol' days are lonnnng gone. Everything is different now that the world is at war with each other. And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse... well, they do. A massive epidemic known as the Asian Flu is claiming lives faster than the blink of an eye. Things weren't always this chaotic though. This mess happened gradually. As the days went by, less and less kids started showing up at Lynn's school. Then one day, the teachers didn't show up at all. Food became more scarce. Then it became time. Time to say goodbye to the life she knew in Chicago. Her and her family needed get away from the hell that had broken loose before it devoured them, too. After traveling from city-to-city, Lynn and her family finally managed to settle in the Yukon, a freeze-your-balls-off territory in northwest Canada. Only, not everyone survived the shitty journey. "And nothing happened more beautifully than death," Walt Whitman says. Fucking liar. WE ALL MUST CHOOSE TO BECOME PREDATORS. Jax isn't quite sure how old he is—27 maybe 28? Here's the thing, you lose track of time when you don't have a watch or a calendar to follow, when the world has gone to shit, no friends to chat with. It's just you and your dog. There is, however, one thing Jax is certain about: do not get caught by the group known as Immunity. Jax has been taken advantage of long enough, and now he is on the run. With no sense of purpose except to get away as far as he can from the savage people who want to use him as a weapon. Jax is about to cross paths with Lynn and unknowingly help her uncover a secret she's been kept in the dark about for far too long. But here's the thing, Lynn isn't the only one with a dark secret. OR BECOME PREY. Rated PG-13: This book deals with two scenes of sexual assault, frequents the use of profanity and references sex. *I received an arc of this book, however, I purchased my own copy the day it came out.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just Okay... I really wanted to love this book but it was just okay for me. I was initially drawn to it because it was described as "Station Eleven meets Hunger Games" but I found that it didn't really live up to that description. Although there was quite a bit of action that occurred in the book, I didn't really feel invested in it...maybe because the characters were a little bit flat and I didn't really feel like I could relate to them or their struggles. If there's a sequel, I may end up checking it out but probably not.
Date published: 2018-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Good Throw Away Read I read this to break up a series that I had been reading. It is definitely NOTHING like Hunger Games, so if you are expecting that, you will be disappointed. It was a quick read, however, unless the author is planning this out as a series, the ending is lackluster. There is also a huge lack of context for certain things that happen within the storyline, as well as characters who are basically just there for fodder. If you are looking for a quick read to pass some time in between doing something else, it is ok, otherwise I wouldn't bother with it.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Junior high quality If I still had the receipt, I would return this book. Despite the poor, cheesy writing, I hung in for 150 pages. Then I read the last 20 pages & was so thankful I had made the decision to ditch it. I kept wondering if I had mistakenly chosen a book intended for 12/13 year olds.
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT BOOK I loved this book , it had everything you could want. Best part , such an easy and smooth read. Finished it in 1 day.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE!!!!!! I was in love with this story from the beginning. I am so happy I have found a new author to love! I am really hoping that there are many more books to this series coming in the future. I am desperate for more!!
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok It was a good book, I did enjoy it
Date published: 2018-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ahh, Tyrell Johnson, you had me at post apocalyptic. Ahh, Tyrell Johnson, you had me at post apocalyptic. Johnson's debut novel is The Wolves of Winter - and it's one you're going to want to read. Nuclear war and disease have decimated society and the world as we know it. Seven years on, Lynn McBride and her family are still surviving. They fled to an isolated area of the Yukon. and Lynn's hunting and survival skills are now finely honed. When a stranger named Jax stumbles into their part of the forest, Lynn is curious and does what she shouldn't - she approaches him and takes him back to the homestead. But Jax has brought trouble with him - and now it's on the McBride doorstep..... Johnson has created a great lead character in Lynn - she's tough physically and mentally. But, on the flip side, she's lonely and isolated - and her world is about to change - again. Johnson's post apocalyptic world building is believable and perhaps not that far away. The cold of the Yukon seeps into the reader's fingers with Johnson's detailed descriptions. But the beauty as well. The Wolves of Winter is action packed - the tension increases with each new chapter and plot development. There's a great cat and mouse game played out and an epic battle scene. Johnson takes his plotting in an inventive direction that I didn't see coming, but was just right. Comparisons have been made by the publisher to The Hunger Games. And I agree, it's in the same vein, but puts it's own stamp on world building, a strong female lead, supporting male characters, danger, survival, intrigue and yes, romance. The Wolves of Winter ends on a satisfying note. But, I wonder Tyrell......could there be there be more to Lynn's story? Pretty please? An excellent debut, and I look forward to Johnson's next book.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a great post-apocalyptic ride. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for providing me with an e-galley of The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson in exchange for an honest review. Let me start by saying that post-apocalyptic fiction has never been one of my favorite genres. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is well-written in such a way that one can almost feel the cold. This is the story of a world that has all but been annihilated by wars and disease. The few remaining people have migrated to the Yukon and must use survival skills and endurance to stay alive in this rugged environment. Lynn McBride finds herself in the North with her mother and brother and a few other men. Days are spent hunting, gathering wood and water and just trying to keep fed and warm and out of sight till the next day and so on. They are managing to eke out an existence until the day that they are approached by a group of strangers on horseback who want to interfere with their meager way of life. Lynn and her companions find themselves in a fight for their lives and their way of life. The pace of the book effectively creates tension and suspense and keeps the reader totally committed. This is a first novel for Tyrell Johnson and hopefully there will be many more to come. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vivid & Bleak The Wolves of Winter is a surprisingly fast read. I say that because, for all intents and purposes, it’s a book set in the post-apocalyptic Arctic where the environment enhances the feel of the desolation of the times. Whereas with other books in this genre tend to build a largesse narrative explaining the genesis of the world that they come to know, the bones of The Wolves of Winter is highly tangible; easily imaginable. I feel like we’re living in it now. The delicate global politics that only become even more so with the new American administration, it is indeed even more plausible now. With the majority of the US population wiped out by a strain of Asian Flu, the McBrides fled to the remote Alaskan wilderness at first. But when the disease extended its reaches, they had very little choice but to flee even further up North. For years, it had only been Gwendolyn and what’s left of her family. They’d survived by hunting, foraging, and preserving their food for the bitter winter. Life was a cycle of monotonous humdrum until a fugitive named, Jax appeared in their midst. Suddenly, the quiet life of the town of McBrides – population 5 – had become far from boring. Tyrell Johnson’s debut novel is a page-turner. There wasn’t a second when you’d lose interest in the goings on of Gwendolyn’s life. While she spent a lot of time immersed in her own self (for lack of company), her quiet introspective about the world and how it came to be pulled me that much deeper into the story. There are a few aspects of the story that I wish was explored further, however. Ramsey, for one, had me speculating about his sexuality and his debilitating shyness when confronted with sex. Because he’s the only person not related to the McBride’s that’s close to Lynn’s age, it was only fitting that they’d be paired in all sense of the word. But any attempts at anything sexual with Lynn only led to tears and mortification. And yet, as soon as Jax entered the scene, Ramsey exuded attitudes attributable to jealousy. There was also the appearance of white animals (foxes…crows) that I thought should’ve been better explained other than an adaptation to the new global climate of sorts. It felt like an afterthought that had no significance to the story at all. I also needed to read more about Jax’s abilities. I felt that it was one of this book’s strong points. Regardless, I enjoyed this novel immensely. I’ve always loved reading post-apocalyptic novels, and Johnson’s debut hits all the right spots. It’s a page-flipper, a little desperate and sweet at times, but also violent. I especially loved Gwendolyn’s relationship with her father. They were close and was each other’s best friend. Lynn for her part is a strong character; stubborn and determined. Protective of those she loves. She is fearless and fierce and does what she can to adapt to a world that left her very little choice but to survive. Overall, this was an outstanding debut. Vivid and bleak; exciting and tender at times.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolves of Winter is a great post-apocalyptic story that is surprisingly complex despite its use of typical tropes. The Wolves of Winter captivated me from the first page. It follows Lynn as she lives deep within the Yukon forest after a nuclear war and sickness has ravaged the planet. Lynn is quickly presented to be an intelligent, competent, and brave young woman. Lynn’s competence stems from her ability to hunt. She’s patient, savvy, and knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed Lynn as a character. There were so many what ifs surrounding her because of the end of the world. The only irritating thing about Lynn is that she’s almost a cross between Katniss from The Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent. However, Johnson was able to toe the line of sassy and hard without Lynn becoming irritating or a blatant knockoff. The events of the novel are satisfyingly concluded, but Johnson leaves an opening for the reader to fill in the gaps or for future work. I’m not sure I’d like to see a typical sequel when it comes to this world. Instead, I’d love to read another novel set in this world but from a different perspective in a different location. Whenever I read post-apocalyptic novels that depict the end of the world or society in some way or another, it never resonates with me. It was always just part of the mythos of the world the author created. However, the end of the world in The Wolves of Winter is scarily relevant. The conflict, the countries, the circumstances, and actions are all based in reality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t read like fiction. But, maybe, that’s how post-apocalyptic novels are going to be moving forward: scarily accurate depictions of the unstable politics that are emerging from around the world. Either way, Johnson hit the nail on the head with his end of the world scenario. Overall, The Wolves of Winter is a great post-apocalyptic story that is surprisingly complex despite its use of typical tropes.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from For fans of Station Eleven An exciting post-apocalyptic story about survivors living back to nature after the society collapses under nuclear war and disease. Reminiscent of Station Eleven or The Passage, the story focuses on the adaptation that's necessary for humanity to continue to survive, along with the conflict that's inevitable in a devastated world. This was an enjoyable and easy read, meant for quick enjoyment and doesn't go too deep.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Debut for Adult Fans of The Giver I received an advanced copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. Do you remember the feeling and atmosphere when you first read The Giver? Especially those moments right at the end, where you’re wondering what’s happening to the characters and what waits for them after the story ends? That’s the feeling that you get throughout this entire book. It’s like The Giver, but for grown ups. Reading this, you would never know that this was Johnson’s first novel. He writes beautifully and like a pro who has been doing this forever. He tells Lynn’s story so well that you feel like you’re in the middle of the Yukon along with her, like you can feel the snow falling on your shoulders, and you’re nervous when chaos goes down. As a heads up, there are a couple of scenes that involve sexual assault. They’re well done scenes, but if you’re sensitive to such things, they are graphic enough. The Good Points of The Wolves of Winter: The main character is brilliant. She’s got the right amount of personality and spunk, without being obnoxious. She also tells her story so well, and really sets the tone of this story. All the characters in this story are great, but Lynn stands out to me. There are a million and one post-apocalyptic stories out there, but Johnson does a great job of making this one stand out among the crowd. The overall story isn’t the more unique thing in the world, but the way that Johnston presents it and all the little details really make it something special. The white animals, the story of the flu, the details of Jax’s past, it’s all brilliant. The pacing of this story is brilliant. It could have easily gotten so boring, what with the limited setting and the common themes of the book. But the story is told in a way where it keeps you hooked in and racing towards the end, desperate to know what is going to happen. This may be a strange point, but I absolutely loved the way that Lynn talks about the snow, and the symbolism of the snow. It’s so good. Who would have thought, because I’m not a big fan of the stuff in real life. And, on a similar note, I loved the choice of setting. It was so cool to have it take place in the frigid north of Canada, and it made for an absolutely fascinating story. Such a brilliant idea. The Downsides of The Wolves of Winter: I would have liked to see a bit more creativity in the whole apocalyptic world. It did work great for this story, but I think Johnson could have done a little bit more with it. I would have loved to get some good surprises in this book, but that just didn’t happen. All in all, this is a great book. I’ve read a few reviews saying that there are some issues with gender and what not, so if that’s something you’re hyper aware of, maybe it’s not the best book for you. But I thought it was very well written, the pacing is great, and I immensely enjoyed the story. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, ladies with bows and arrows, and beautiful descriptions about snow, you should definitely check out The Wolves of Winter.
Date published: 2018-01-01

Read from the Book

The Wolves of Winter 1 The trap was empty and the snow was bloody, which meant one of three things. One: The animal had gotten itself loose, making a mess in the process. Unlikely. Too much blood. Two: Wolves had gotten to it and somehow managed to drag the carcass out of the trap. Even more unlikely. Not enough blood. Or hair. Besides, their tracks would have been obvious. Three: Conrad had poached my kill. Thieving, asshole Conrad. Not only likely but, based on the boot prints and snakelike trails that his sled made through the bloody Rorschach marks in the snow, it was the only option. It had snowed early that morning, maybe an hour before the sun crested the hills. A thin dusting had already settled over his prints. He got up early, you had to give Conrad that much. Stealing didn’t seem like him, though. He was an ass, no doubt about it, but a thief? The animal’s prints were teardrops, scattered about the bloody mush of snow. Teardrops meant deer. And by the size of the prints, it was a buck. My wire had been snipped too. I’d placed it between two pine trees in a small ravine. The logjams on either side were a bitch to set up, but they herded the animals into the trap. I took the broken wire between my gloved fingers. You know how rare wire was nowadays? I could repair it, but it wouldn’t hold as strong. I was always careful to remove the wire by unthreading it from the tree and the animal so that I could use it again. I was pissed. I adjusted my compound bow under my arm and the rope over my left shoulder. The rope was attached to my sled. My uncle Jeryl—Dad’s brother—had made the sled for me four years earlier. About three feet wide, six feet long. It carried small game no problem, a deer was tough for me but manageable, and an elk, caribou, or moose I had to butcher first and carry just the meat. The sled was made of spruce and had bloodstains from past kills splattered about the wood, but it was sturdy. I always dragged it along with me to check the traps. A slight easterly wind stung my nose and cracked lips. The sun was gray and bored in the hazy sky, but the fresh fallen snow was still blinding. Sunglasses. I missed sunglasses. I headed southeast, into the wind. It was less than a mile to Conrad’s place. Dragging the sled made it tough going, but I didn’t care. No way in hell I was going to let him keep my kill. He was a big man, though, and he was stronger than me. Somewhere, a gray jay woke and started chattering. The wind blew a dusting of snow from the ground that billowed like smoke in the chill morning air, and the sun, not giving a shit about my deer, was probably already contemplating its early descent. I was sixteen when we left Eagle, Alaska. When things got bad, when everyone seemed to be leaving, we up and left too. We headed into the Yukon Territory. To the trees, hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow. The vast wilderness of nothing. But for the next seven years, that nothing became home. I got used to it. The whiteness a comfort, the pine trees a refuge, the silence of it a friend I never knew I needed or wanted. Being twenty-three now, looking back on my sixteen-year-old self, Alaska feels like a different world. Or a dream. Where people had jobs, hobbies, possessions, friends, and things like ovens, TV, cereal, toasters, pizza. But what made that life real for me was Dad. His death didn’t feel like a lifetime ago. I carried him with me everywhere I went. Conrad lived in a small log cabin next to the Blackstone River. He built the place himself, and it always looked to me like it was about to fall over. It leaned slightly to the south. Reminded me of the pine, fir, and spruce trees—the tired-looking ones that were hunched over from the weight of the snow. They looked exhausted, depressed, like they’d given up, given in to the arctic bully. Snow can be a burden sometimes. All the time, really. There didn’t used to be so much of it. Before the wars and the bombs. When the cabin came into sight, I spotted the deer right away, lying in the snow next to Conrad’s door. It was a buck, just like I thought, a big buck, a horse with antlers. A good kill. My kill. I made my way down the hill to his cabin and walked right up to the carcass. When I got close enough, I let go of the sled and surveyed the animal. The thing was stiff. A clean cut across the jugular. I knelt down and put my hands in the brown fur, then palmed the antlers, the soft velvet on the horns folding beneath my gloves. I’d probably be able to get it on the sled and up and over the first hill or two. But from there I’d have to run and get help to bring it all the way home. First, though, I had to get it off the damn porch. Conrad’s porch. I wiped my frozen nose with the sleeve of my jacket. The door creaked open, and Conrad filled the doorway, his dark green winter coat and boots still on, and his .308 rifle held loose at his hip like he was compensating for something. “Admiring my kill?” He had a dense black beard and brown eyes like a wolverine’s, sitting too close to his nose. He was a thick man. Thick around the waist, neck, face, and limbs. How he’d managed to stay so round through the lean months I didn’t know. He had a smell about him too—wet wood, near to rot. “This is my kill,” I said. He just smiled. Probably had been rehearsing the conversation. “So you slit its throat?” His voice was low, buttery with the pleasure of the situation. He was eating this up. I glared, hoping some of the heat I felt in my stomach would transfer through my eyes, laser to his forehead, and burn him to charcoal. “I’m taking it back.” “I don’t think so.” He set the rifle down just outside the door. “It was my trap.” “It was my knife, my find. How was I supposed to know it was your trap?” “You knew damn well it was my trap.” “A poorly assembled bit of wire?” “Set in a ravine, with logjams on either side to herd the animals through. Don’t be stupid.” He shrugged, the thin smile never leaving his pinched face. I wanted to punch my fist right through it. Shatter his teeth, jaw, skull. “It’s a lovely day,” he said, inhaling the stinging morning air, exhaling tendrils of white steam. “A good day for butchering.” “I’m taking the deer,” I said, lifting my rope and pulling in my sled. I set down my bow, wrapped a hand around the buck’s antlers, and started to jerk the massive bulk. Conrad grabbed my arm. His grip was firm, trying to prove something to us both. I yanked my arm back, but his fingers just tightened. “Let me go!” “I’ll butcher him up, make a nice warm coat for you. We’ll call it even. How’d you like that?” My dad always told me that when I’m angry, I make rash decisions. I get it from Mom. Once, back in Alaska, I broke two of my brother’s fingers in the doorway. “Take a breath,” my dad would say, “and think. Think about what you’re going to do, what you want to happen, and if there’s a better way to get things done.” But I was too pissed at Conrad. I swung at him. Fist clenched, arm flailing. It was a stupid move. My fist connected with the edge of his jaw. His head barely tipped back. My knuckles vibrated with pain. “Bitch.” The word rumbled from his round belly. His eyes grew intense, like those of an animal charging. Hungry. He came at me. I might have had time to raise my arms or duck if I’d thought the bastard would hit a girl. But I didn’t. Didn’t think he had it in him. So I was caught completely unaware when his fist collided with my cheek and knocked me flat to the ground. He wasn’t wearing gloves either. The snow wrapped around me like a frozen blanket. My head reeled. The gray of the sky waterfalled to the earth, then the earth to the sky—the pine trees dipped and jumped. I blinked and felt water fill my left eye where he’d struck. Then his weight was on me, firm and heavy, full of heat and iron. “You’re dead, you asshole,” I said, gasping. “You’re a dead man.” My voice was weak and didn’t carry the anger I felt. His hands pinned me down, his face inches from mine. I couldn’t move. I felt a panicked helplessness. “You’re a stupid little girl.” He shifted his weight, his stomach pressing against my side. “You think you have a little community with rules? You don’t. Welcome to the new world. Your brother and uncle can’t do shit to me. They can try if they want, but I’ll fucking kill them.” He turned his body again, his left elbow and forearm pushing against my chest, pinning me to the ground. Then his other hand slithered down to my thigh. “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.” “I don’t need my uncle; I’ll kill you myself!” I spat in his face and saw a small bead of spit land in his eyelashes, but he just blinked it away. His hand went higher up my thigh. I thrashed and tried to claw his eyeballs, but I couldn’t reach. He was too big, the fat fuck. Then his palm was between my legs. I clenched them, but I could feel his fingers on me. They pressed, dipping and rubbing as I squirmed, helpless as a caught fox. I felt my knife dig into my hip. My Hän knife. I kept it sharp. But my hand was pinned. I couldn’t reach it. He leaned in even closer, trembling, his beard tickling my chin. I was going to be sick, was going to throw up in his face. Might have been a good thing if I had. “Whatever I want,” he repeated. Then it was over. The touching, the weight, the stink of his breath. He released me and stood. I took in quick, shallow gasps of air. My cheek throbbed. I got to my feet as quick as I could and thought about going for my knife or my bow, discarded in the snow beside me. Conrad watched with a pleased look on his face. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was making a statement. Claiming territory. Drawing lines. Letting us know that he wasn’t afraid of us. Either way, he was a dead man. I decided to tell him again. “You’re a dead man.” “Run off to your uncle.” I picked up my bow, then snagged the rope attached to my sled. The buck stared at me with his dead, marble eyes. Such an impressive creature, rotting on the front step of Conrad’s shit shack, waiting to be butchered by his careless knife. I gave Conrad one last glare before turning. But the fire didn’t burst out of my watering eyes. It didn’t burn him to charcoal. “Bye bye, Gwendolynn,” he said as I walked away. “Fuck you, Conrad.”

Editorial Reviews

“Fans of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars may appreciate this bleak yet suspenseful take on the aftermath of disaster. Tyrell Johnson creates a compelling post-apocalyptic tale for his novel debut.”