[WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS]
Faolan is the green-eyed lone wolf with a gleaming silver coat at the heart of the first Wolves of the Beyond book. He was born into a litter of three wolf pups. But unlike his healthy siblings, Faolan was born with a twisted paw that has a spiral star shape on one of its pads. Because of this, Faolan is considered a malcadh, or a cursed pup. The harsh laws of the wolves lay down that, in order to protect the bloodlines, any malcadh pup must be taken from its mother and abandoned in the wilderness to die. If the pup survives, it is allowed to join the wolf pack again as a gnaw wolf, the lowest position in the pack. The parents of a malcadh, however, are driven from the pack forever.
Faolan is left on an ice shelf on a riverbank to freeze or drown. But a spring flood pulls him downriver, where he is discovered by a mother grizzly bear who decides to raise him as her own. Nursed on grizzly milk and brought up with bear strength of mind, Faolan grows into a powerful, noble wolf. He’ll need his strength; the future of the wolves will depend on it.
Thunderheart is the massive grizzly bear mother who adopts Faolan after her bear cub is stolen by a cougar. Thunderheart doesn’t have much experience with wolves, so she teaches Faolan the ways of the bears, including how to walk on two legs and how to leap up trees. Thunderheart constantly worries that she’s not smart enough to keep up with her clever young wolf pup, but she worries most of all about the cold sleep. When winter comes and she is closed up in her den, what will happen to Faolan?
Shibaan MacDuncan is the Obea of the MacDuncan clan. Once it was clear that Shibaan could not bear pups, the head of the MacDuncan clan gave her the position of Obea. It’s her job to search out malcadh pups, to take them from their mothers and leave them out to die. Shibaan was once a beautiful wolf with lustrous tawny fur, and very popular in the pack. But now mother wolves fear her and father wolves ignore her. She is the one wolf in the pack with no rank at all.
Morag & Kinnaird MacDuncan
The parents of Faolan, Morag is a silver she-wolf and Kinnaird was her tawny-furred mate. Morag had two healthy litters of pups, but in her third litter bore Faolan with his twisted paw. She and Kinnaird were driven from the MacDuncan pack, and forced to find new clans and new mates far from each other.
The masked owl Gwynneth is a rogue smith who has set up a forge in the Beyond. Instead of making double-action battle claws, Gwynneth likes to create metal sculptures. She is the daughter of Gwyndor, who was murdered during the owl wars. Other than Thunderheart, Gwynneth is Faolan’s first friend and advisor.
The Sark of the Slough
While most wolves in the Beyond are superstitious and like to keep to the natural order set out in wolf lore, the Sark of the Slough is a curious wolf with a scientific turn of mind. She lives alone in the marshy Slough, far from the wolf clans, and conducts experiments. Because she’s solitary and not afraid to investigate taboos, most wolves think she is a witch and fear her. She has wild fur, and one green eye and one eye the color of an egg yolk. The Sark of the Slough often provides advice to the wolf-clan chiefs, and her cave serves as a resting place for mothers of malcadh pups.
The clan chief of the powerful MacDuncan wolves has grown old. It hurts for him to move on his arthritic legs, and his memory occasionally fails him. But the MacDuncan clan reveres him and scoffs at his suggestions that he should step down as their leader. Duncan MacDuncan is the wolf who made Shibaan an Obea, and caused Morag and Kinnaird to be cast out of the MacDuncan clan.
The clan chief of the MacAngus clan is Angus McAngus. On nights with wild storms when lightning streaks across the sky, Angus MacAngus’s job is to look for omens and portents. He is the first to notice that there is a lone wolf nearby, and he is the one that mistakenly spreads the news that the terrible foaming-mouth disease has come to the Beyond.
The gnaw wolf of the MacDuncan clan is Heep, who was cast out of the clan as a macaldh pup with a missing tail, but manages to survive his time alone in the forest. As the wolf with the lowest rank in his pack, Heep must eat last, must bow to all other wolves around him, and must gnaw the stories of his clan onto the bones of their prey. Heep instantly hates Faolan, who he sees as a rival.
Morb, a small wolf with a mangy russet coat, has no clan name. He is a member of the outclanners, a despicable band of lawless wolves that live in the barren stretches of the Outermost. These wolves live by no code, and ignore all wolf taboos—even cannibalism.
[WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS]
As a gnaw wolf for the MacHeath clan, one-eyed Edme is one of the unluckiest wolves in the Beyond. But despite the abuse she suffers from the cruel MacHeath clan wolves, Edme remains sweet and optimistic. She’s small with an unremarkable pelt, but Edme’s natural determination and talent for storytelling make her both a formidable hunter and an excellent bone carver. She’s a serious candidate for a coveted position on the wolves of the watch.
Born with a crooked throat, the Whistler speaks in eerie creaking whispers. He was a malcadh and cast out of his clan as a pup, but he made it back and as the gnaw wolf of the Pack of the Blue Rock. The Whistler becomes one of Faolan’s first true friends.
As one of the youngest outflankers of Duncan MacDuncan’s pack, Mhairie’s job is to flash out during the hunt to steer the prey towards the wolves that will take it down. Mhairie is new to hunting, but her powerful legs show that she’ll soon be one of the clan’s top runners. Mhairie’s tawny pelt hides a fierce temper – especially when Faolan ignores the rules of the pack and leaps out of turn during a hunt – spoiling the attack and Mhairie’s finest moment.
The Little Pup
A tawny drop of gold, the little pup is so young she doesn’t yet have a name. She had the misfortune to be born too small and too early. Because early pups are weak and tend to have hidden problems, they’re considered a blight on the Clan. The great white wolf Laell was charged with taking the little pup from the pack, leaving her to die. But the little pup has a much worse fate in store for her. Instead of being abandoned in the wilderness where she had at least a slim chance of surviving on her own, the little pup catches the eye of a cunning, conniving – and very hungry – clan wolf.