Are not all our struggles and trials really the same? The never-ending quest to fully appreciate who we are, why we are, and of what depths and heights we are truly capable? – Sharon Denholme Proctor
Aaron Ryan is an incredibly dangerous man. Early in his enlistment in the military he was pegged as having the special talent and right temperament to make him a covert intelligence agent. He was trained accordingly, and over time only became more and more deadly as his skills evolved to keep pace with his near sociopathic personality.
Neill Proctor is a plastic surgeon who works at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. He and his wife, Sharon, also a physician, are originally from South Africa. Their time there during the horrific events of the South African Border War exposed them to the brutalities that men are capable of inflicting upon one another.
Unbeknownst to the Proctors, it also exposed them in passing to Aaron Ryan, himself in the region during the war in his capacity as a covert operative. Little could they have known they would cross paths with Ryan again, and that the horror they sought to escape would not only follow them to the U.S., but show up on their very doorstep.
There’s only one thing in the world Ryan holds dear, his stepmother. When she dies while undergoing medical treatment Ryan becomes convinced her death was the result of malpractice, and that the physicians involved are actively covering up their negligence. One by one Ryan begins tracking down the physicians involved in her case, acting as judge, jury, and executioner for each. When he realizes Neill Proctor was one of those involved, Ryan’s twisted sense of justice causes him to decide to take revenge on Proctor in a different way; Ryan will take Proctor’s wife from him, leaving him with nothing in the world to care about, just as Ryan finds himself.
Wolf’s Paw is an ambitious, somewhat epic story in that author Tristan de Chalain takes his time establishing the backstory of the three main characters during their respective time in South Africa and Angola before bringing their lives together. While doing so, Chalain weaves remarkably detailed information about the South African Border War/Angolan Bush War into the story, bringing almost a historian’s perspective to the establishing portion of the book. Once the story shifts to the States, however, Wolf’s Paw settles down into a good old fashioned tale of revenge and retribution, and an examination of the lengths to which one man is willing to go to attain them.
The scope of the book and details of historical events interwoven throughout make for a bit more than light reading, but if you’re looking for something with a little heft behind it do consider letting the Wolf’s Paw in amongst the lambs of your beach reads.
Wolf’s Paw is available from Eloquent Books (ISBN: 978-1608609673).