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The shot whisked through the air at eleven minutes past three in the afternoon on the first Sunday of October. The cows in the pasture by the road tossed their heads, and among the summer cottages on the headland a dog began to bark. Everyone in close proximity had heard the echo of the shot that had killed the wolf.

Life on the island had been peaceful for the past thirty years. Unlike many of his peers and much to the disappointment of his father Samuel, Tillman Ruff had resisted the allure of venturing beyond the island of Wiggö. However, one October day, Tillman’s seemingly uneventful existence takes a tumultuous turn when he shoots a wolf, setting a series of events in motion that threaten to disrupt the tranquil life on the serene island.

Urgently joined by his friend Ben, they hastily bury the wolf, hoping to sweep the whole incident under the rug and as they embark on their covert mission, they are certain that the darkness is keeping their actions safe from prying eyes. However, when the police arrive at Tillman’s doorstep the next day, he realizes that someone has ratted him out, and suspicion swiftly turns to Magdalena – an environmentalist who has fled the big city to find solace on the island.

As the news of the deceased wolf spreads among the islanders, a flood of memories surges through many, reminiscent of that fateful fall in the 1980’s – the last time a wolf arrived on the island. And when the young Ottoline, a budding butterfly researcher, mysteriously vanished despite having found a home on the island. Suddenly, nothing is like it was before Tillman shot the wolf and the islanders are once again facing a common threat. Samuel, Tillman’s father, finds himself compelled to rectify the chaos wrought by his own son. But is history now mirroring its past?

As Magdalena delves into old documents at the local church, she finds, to her surprise, Ottoline’s forgotten diary. In the notes she unfurls a tale of the apollo butterfly, lost love, and the unifying power of people against a common threat. From the information she gathers from the diary she is driven to uncover the truth from decades ago. As Magdalena meticulously peels back the layers of the past, she unearths the island’s concealed secrets, weaving a tapestry of hope for those who still carry Ottoline’s profound impact with them.

In When the Wolf Came, Catrin Ormestad masterfully unveils a gripping tale, set against the vibrant backdrop of the Swedish archipelago. When the Wolf Came is not a story about a mere crime; it also delves deep into the intricate complexity of relationships, how they are forged and tested. And how disturbingly close evil is to love.


“Catrin Ormestad’s novel When the Wolf Came does not only allow a wolf to swim ashore on Wiggö – the entire contemporary war on culture is unleashed on the island, with Tillman and Magdalena as the leading parties of the conflict. Black and white meet, but they are watercolors, mixed in the ocean’s water, and it is with shades just as grey as the cliffs of the archipelago that Catrin Ormestad paints their lives, with an understanding for both worldviews. […] When the Wolf Came is a novel for this head-fast era of assurance, which encourages listening to one’s fellow humans’ arguments instead of declaring them idiots.”
Gefle Dagblad (SE)

“Here, a drama unfolds where social control can be fatal, especially for those seeking sustainable change. Catrin Ormestad is a driven writer with a feel for and knowledge about nature and the vulnerable island life.”

“We get to go on an incredible journey. [Catrin Ormestad] succeeds in writing a book that is topical about the climate and biodiversity […] and there are love stories and fragile family ties.”
Go’kväll (SE)

“Catrin Ormestad writes with nuance about the conflict between city and countryside in the highly topical book When the Wolf Came. […] the novel grows with its characters, they receive life, background and motive to their actions, and the author truly illustrates the problems of the outskirts — a little twisted, but still. She also depicts the friendship between Tillman and Ben in a balanced way. Both people and nature are portrayed with empathy and understanding.”
Upsala Nya Tidning (SE)

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