A gripping story of a woman's struggle for justice in a man's world.
Through the marshes and rich farmland of the great river, Lupa hunts and is hunted by her husband’s murderers. On the estuary islands her sons and their protector are just one step ahead of the killers. Everyone underestimates Lupa, if they consider her at all. They are making a mistake. The odds may be against her, but Lupa is the daughter of a fox and the mother of wolves.
This fantasy adventure is a revenge story with a twist, an alternative history of the gypsies and a profile of the rise of a woman leader all in one book.
In the early hours Lupa rose once more and walked to the pit. The moon was overhead, revealing the sleeping girl, curled up on her side cradling her head on her arms. “I can’t believe there is evil in her.” Lupa looked closer – Bessie was dreaming. “And yet she has power.” These words Lupa spoke out loud without any audience apart from the moon. Lupa sat with her legs hanging over the edge of the pit. “What am I to do with her?”
The bushes rustled and a little fox, grey in the moonlight, sauntered towards Lupa. He settled down just out of reach and nonchalantly scratched an ear with his back leg. “Hello, again. It is a while since we sat together, you and I. Much has changed, Father. I was alone when we sat by the river, alone with all the odds against me, and now your daughter is Queen. How little you thought that would happen, even you my proud father.
“Do you remember, Father, when you showed me the ways of the wolves? Watch the conversation of death, you said. A wolf will stare into the eyes of its prey and choose whether to kill or let go? They speak to each other, you said. Death is a contract. When I buried Toro, I was alone on the heath with his body for three days and a she-wolf came to me. I looked into her eyes – you shall not have him, you shall not have me, I told her. Each night she broke the stare and left. On the third night exhausted I fell asleep and woke with her standing over me, but still she did not strike. She could have killed with one bite to the throat, but the contract was made and I lived.
“Now I am the wolf and here is my prey. With one word I could kill her. Some here would kill her without a word. They fear her so.
“I do not want to, Father. Nor do I want to kill her man. But I am bound to do so and can find no way to avoid it. Look at her, she is waiting. For what? I cannot get into her mind. I look into her eyes and see only myself.”
Lupa sighed. “A shame you can’t talk, little one.” The fox was listening to the sleeping camp. It trotted away. Lupa stood up. “Good night, good hunting.” Down in the pit the girl gave a slight noise. “Nearly dawn, Bessie.”
Lupa lay down but did not sleep. Three nights the she-wolf had gazed on her prey and three times walked away. She could not break the thought that the new day would bring a resolution, for good or ill.