BOOK CLUB: The Wolf Hour

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Author: Sarah Myles
Publication Date:
29 August 2018
Allen & Unwin
Courtesy of the Publisher

The Wolf Hour is a gripping contemporary thriller about a young Australian aid worker abducted in war-torn Africa.

Tessa Lowell has a PhD in psychology and is researching the effects of war and PTSD on child soldiers. She joins a delegation traveling deep into the African bush for peace talks with the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The camp is attacked by other rebels who, believing she is a medical doctor, kidnap Tessa to have her treat a dying major’s gunshot wound.

Tessa’s parents enlist the help of her brother Stephen who is a businessman based in Cape Town. He agrees to search for her, while also pursuing his own agenda.

Stephen’s search for Tessa ends up shining a spotlight on his dealings and his family discover he isn’t who they thought he was.

I have read a couple of African tales now and I can’t wait to get into this one. It really seems so far from the lives we lead that I always find the tales fascinating. I can’t wait to hear what our readers think.

Available now from Allen & Unwin, Angus & Robertson, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Sarah Myles can be found at and Facebook.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Wolf Hour so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Wolf Hour

  1. The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles is a story about Tessa Lowell, an Australian in Uganda researching the effects of war on child soldiers. She meets Francis, a 13 yr old soldier at a camp, then the camp is attacked by rebels who take Tessa.

    The story covers negotiations between her parents, her brother Stephen whose activities in Africa may not be on the side of the law, and Francis,

    There are many undercurrents throughout the story which keeps the reader on the edge.

    I enjoyed the book and thank Beauty and Lace, and Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read and review.

  2. The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles and published by Allen & Unwin is a graphic and thought provoking read set in war-torn Africa.

    It portrays a struggling, harsh land where life is a matter of survival each and every day. Not just from the raw and unsanitary conditions of a third world country but also from the corruption and power struggles amongst the people. Pitted against the Government is The Lord’s Resistance Army led by the notorious Joseph Kony. The LRA burns down villages, murders and rapes, and children as young as 10 are torn from their homes to be indoctrinated as child soldiers.

    Into this strife prone setting psychologist and aid worker Dr Tessa Lowell has come to ‘make a difference’, and to study the effects of PTSD on child soldiers.

    However when Tessa joins a delegation travelling deep into the African bush, for peace talks with Joseph Kony, and things go very wrong, it is Tessa’s own survival and her family’s actions and reactions that become the centerpiece of this story.

    The Wolf Hour provides a vividly explicit portrayal of a brutal world where genocide, child soldiers, illegal arms trading and corruption are commonplace. It certainly makes you appreciate the relative safety and security of Australia!

  3. I am so happy I got to review this book as I absolutely love books set anywhere in Africa.
    Tessa Lowell from Melbourne is in Uganda researching the effects of PTSD on young children kidnapped and turned into soldiers. She joined a delegation to have peace talks with Joseph Kony the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Tessa is captured one night and taken back to a rebel’s camp to try and save a man’s life.

    Tessa’s parents, Neil and Leigh are devastated and terrified to learn of their daughter’s kidnapping. So far no demands are made so they call on their son Stephen, living in South Africa and running a questionable business asking him to do what it takes to get Tessa back.

    This book was such an engrossing read and I couldn’t put it down. It not only captures what happens with young rebel soldiers but also an insight into what comes to light during a family’s difficult time as truths unfold.

    There was no real conclusion to the ending of this book and it did leave you wanting more but I have heard the story is to continue with a sequel which I’m excited about!

  4. What a compelling and engrossing story that I highly recommend! Thank you so much for letting me review this book.

    Tessa, I believe has grownup with shutters on her eyes to the real world and lives in some kind of bubble. Stephen has a streak that has hardened him and allows his character to take advantage of any situation to his own end. He thinks it is a strength but in the end it was his downfall.

    Both characters are then brought back to reality by their parents who taught them the way of the world in the first place.

    Imagine my surprise when reading, that I thought I had come to the conclusion of the story only to find I was 3/4 of the way thru.

    There are elements of much stronger things going in this story, that would make a good follow up but a very hard book to put down.

  5. Wolf Hour is about an a aid worker named Tessa Lowell she wants to have more understanding, of the effects of PTSD on children soldiers in Uganda.
    Tessa gets taken by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army. So all her family do all they can to get her out of there, that is when her brother and all his secrets about what he does for a living comes out.
    I recommend this book a good read.

  6. I found this book a little hard to read due to not feeling 100% and there are some grose, graphic descriptions happening and I found myself having to keep my own health in check.

    The book itself is great reading and I found myself liking the character of Melbournite Tessa an aid worker who goes to live in Uganda, much to her parent’s dislike, with the view of wanting to help the children who have been kidnapped from their villages and then turned into soldiers. The children have no idea if their own parents are alive or not. Tessa wants to study the effects of PTSD of the children who are soldiers.

    A character called Dominic runs a delegation to help the kids but they decide that they need to travel on a long journey into the African bush to have peace talks with a man called Joseph Kony who is a notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Tessa demands to go on this mission trip. It is then that the storyline starts to grip your attention and begins the pages being turned over to know more.

    Tessa is abducted and we follow her story of being in the situation and how she strives to survive. She befriends a soldier called Francis who is only in his teens. Is he good or is he bad?

    Tessa’s parents have heard of her abduction and make the trip over. Her brother is contacted as he lives over in Cape Town and maybe he can get answers of where she is being held.

    This really is a captivating read and you definitely cannot put the book down. I got a bit confused at the ending waiting for what, I do not know so I am wondering if there is going to be a sequel to this book. I sure hope so.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace and of course Allen & Unwin for a great book to read.

  7. The scenery depicted in this story really sets the scene & you can almost imagine yourself standing there. The African societies, culture & religion feature heavily as they essentially dictate the storyline. Some parts are graphic however for the region & situation the story was written, it was really quite tame.

    There story itself really had no conclusion which personally I found quite frustrating.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read & review!

  8. Thanks to Beauty & Lace Allen & Unwin & especially the Author Sarah Myles allowing me to read & review this compelling novel The Wolf Hour

    Set in Uganda this deep engrossing book has you on edge the characters feel real especially Tess & as the secrets & tragedies unfold I was on the edge of my seat.Family secrets are revealed as the storyline continues & as it concluded up in the air I presume there is a sequel

    Once again thanks & do recommend this great read

  9. What an interesting novel this is. It sits somewhere between being a thriller and being a literary novel, and is a complex depiction of four people under stress, and of what that stress does to their family unit.

    Tessa is engaged in research work in Uganda, hoping to improve the lives of child soldiers, but uncertain how much she is influenced by the desire to advance her career. She joins a delegation planning to attend peace talks deep in the African bush. When things go wrong, Tessa is abducted by rebels and left in a precarious and isolated situation.

    In Melbourne her increasingly frantic parents find that the stress might be too much for their marriage to bear. They contact their son Stephen, who is based in Cape Town, and pressure him to take action to rescue his sister. But this has its’ own cost; their image of Stephen may not survive the action he takes.

    This is a really strong character study, and although it focuses most strongly on Tessa and Stephen, considerable time is also given to their parents, Neil and Leigh. This isn’t a light read, but I found it very involving, and I genuinely wanted to know what would happen to each of the four. The ending isn’t neat, but it’s very believable, and very consistent with the rest of the novel.

    The novel is well written; it flows well and although the subject matter doesn’t make for an easy read, the prose does. The setting was vivid and believable, and gives a strong sense that Tessa is an outsider even where she is supposedly welcome.

    I’m not sure I’d say I enjoyed this, exactly, but I did appreciate it and I’m glad I read it. I wouldn’t recommend it to readers looking for a bit of fun, but it should appeal to readers interested in strong characters and strong plotting.

  10. Thank you Beauty and Lace, Allen and Unwin along with the Author of The Wolf Hour Sarah Myles for being able to review this book.
    Tessa Lovell, a young psychologist,wants to save the young soldiers who have been kidnaped to serve in the rebel army (Lords Resistance Army). Despite her family’s disapproval she bases herself in Uganda to research the after affects of the young soldiers when they return to their village.
    This book is fraught with danger, emotionally charged with corruption and misinterpretation of The Bible along with Tessa’s family almost being destroyed due to circumstances that arise and Tessa being somewhat inexperienced.
    This is definitely a good read and I’m very much looking forward to a sequel.

  11. The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles was a book I normally wouldn’t pick up, but because it was by an Aussie author and Aussie characters it made me interested. I really enjoyed this read, it’s about a lady called Tessa with a PhD in psychology who goes to Africa to write a paper on the young children who are made to be soldiers and about their rehabilitation. What’s happened to these young kids has shocked Tessa and she wants to help them, but some can’t be.
    Something goes wrong and Tessa is abducted, will she survive?
    This incident shows Tessa what she is really capable of and to what lengths she must go to, to survive.
    A tale of families, betrayal and what it’s really like to be in the dangerous lands of Africa.

  12. Thanks for the opportunity to review this book,

    I throughly enjoyed it and love reading books with an African setting.

    Tessa is certainly capable and is very helpful in these children’s lives.
    I would recommend this book to a friend.

  13. This is an extraordinary tale of brother and sister Stephen and Tessa Lowell. Born in Australia, they have grown up with a father who filmed documentaries on the wildlife and natural wonders of Africa. As adults, Stephen has helped a long time friend build their family business and enjoys the ease of skirting the law and bending the rules in Africa. Tessa is studying for a PhD in Psychology and is based in Uganda, learning of the affects of warfare on Africa’s child soldiers.

    When Tessa accompanies colleagues to a meeting with Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, the camp is ambushed and Tessa kidnapped. What unfolds is a terrifying and very unsettling chain of events that sees Tessa pushed to the limits of her ability to survive and makes Stephen accountable of his own involvement in the saga.

    A compelling read, well researched and written.

    Thank you Sarah Myles, Allen and Unwin, and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this book.

  14. “The Wolf Hour” by Sarah Myles is quite the deep novel. Based on the troubles within Uganda and the Congo and the fights between the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), and the government and the implication of that on the Acholi people of northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Tessa, an Australian psychology graduate (with PhD), is over in Uganda to research the psychology of the child soldiers rescued from the resistance and the PTSD these children suffer. She works hard to find ways to help these children, to integrate them back into their society and families, while acknowledging the tribal requirements and processes that need be undertaken.

    To enhance her understanding of the war at hand, Tessa requests, begs and bullies her way onto a delegation travelling into the African bush to try to reach a peace treaty. The rebel leader turns them away, siting he will not give in to the western world and his army and their war is the only way to give Africa back to its people. Returning to Uganda, the delegation is attacked, still within the LRA territory in the Congo, and Tessa is abducted. She sees first hand the treatment of these children as a part of the war efforts, makes a connection with a 13-ish year old soldier Francis, hoping he can help her escape this tragic situation.

    With despair and anguish, Tessa’s parents want their daughter back, fracturing their once perfect relationship. They beg assistance from their son Stephen, who lives and works in South Africa. But Stephen see this as an opportunity. He works in the weapons industry and a connection within the LRA may be just the way to expand his connections and trade. He takes on the task for her rescue with that in mind.

    While the rescue successful, getting both Tessa and Francis out, with the help of Francis’s bush skills to get Stephen, Tessa and himself out without being caught by the LRA.

    The ending to the story was a little lacking, I felt it left more questions than answers and perhaps an open door for what I hope will be a second novel. Otherwise I felt for the story, the participants and gained an understanding of what has happened to these people. Touching and deep story. Not a bad read all up.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  15. The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles is a captivating read.
    War torn Uganda is not a place for the lighthearted and this book delves into the brutal lifestyle and what lengths Ugandans go to to survive.
    It has been widely reported in the Media about the child soldiers that fight in African Rebel Forces and we follow Tessa, an Australian who is in Uganda working with these children and studying PTSD on them.
    Tessa gets caught up in the Peace Talks and ends up being abducted when she is mistaken for a medical doctor. She is exposed to unimaginable horrors.
    Her parents are in Australia and are dealing with their own problems and when they are notified of Tessa’s kidnapping, they contact their son Stephen who is in Cape Town and ask him to find his sister.
    We follow the rescue attempt and the far reaching ripple effect of this.
    Myles has written beautifully with a sound knowledge of war torn Africa.
    I did feel the ending was a bit flat and left open, hopefully for a sequel, but quite a fascinating read overall.

  16. The Wolf Hour is the second book by Australian author, Sarah Myles. When I began this book, I wasn’t too sure of what to expect as it’s not my usual genre and I had not come across Sarah Myles before. The Wolf Hour turned out to be a well researched, intriguing look at life in Africa. Africa itself became a character of the story. Sarah doesn’t hold back as she describes the beauty of the land and contrasts it with the harsh reality of daily life with political strife. The authenticity is brought to life through the eyes of thirty year old Tessa Lowell. Tessa, armed with a phd in psychology, is researching the effects of PTSD and war on the child soldiers in Garamba, Africa. Though Tessa was ultimately a person with a good heart, her naivety and stubbornness, was at many times frustrating. She didn’t want to face the dark truth about the place she was currently calling home. Ultimately, Tessa’s refusal to listen to those who know the country places her life in jeopardy. While this was distressing to witness, I felt that Sarah barely touched on exploring child soldiers as the blurb stated. This was more about Sarah’s experiences as a white woman in a foreign country. Tessa’s brother, Stephen, on the other hand, knows the heart of Africa as he lives in Cape Town. While it was clear from the very start that Stephen was living a dangerous life, I was just as shocked as his family when Sarah reveals his true colours. Both Tessa and Stephen were real, flawed, multifaceted characters just like their parents, Neil and Leigh. Neil and Leigh see both their children for who they truly are, warts and all. They have never really been comfortable with Tessa’s decisions but love their child for the woman she has become. A woman who wants to make a change, who wants to stand up for the rights of others. Tessa’s parents are the perfect example of parental love when they embark on a journey to bring her home. When it came to their son, Stephen, and his ethics, Neil and Leigh have always known that something was not quite right but haven’t needed to investigate the truth. Through Stephen’s path in life, Sarah skilfully draw out the darkness and danger that hides in all of us.

    This is a must read for those who are interested in Africa or who need something a little different to their usual genres.

  17. The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles follows Tessa, who is studying child soldiers in Africa and the effects of war on their psyche.

    She begs to be taken along to negotiations and talks with Kony, infamous leader of the African rebels.

    Things turn sour when Tessa is kidnapped and held against her will.

    Her parents must recruit her brother who is living & working in Capetown, but he has a few secrets of his own up his sleeve.

    I found this book a little confronting in places, the opening scene for example where a boy’s injuries are treated with some kind of black magic ritual. And the background of child soldiers and their physical and psychological injuries is very real in today’s political climate.

    While The Wolf Hour was very cleverly written and well researched, this wasn’t entirely my cup of tea. A good read nonetheless.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles.
    Granted it is a book with a deeper storyline than I would normally read, I felt once I sat down and got engaged with the story that I was immersed in the novel.
    The novel follows Tessa and her brother Stephen and their life in Africa where Tessa is studying the effects of PTSD on child soldiers.
    After being kidnapped while doing her research , her brother is asked to find her by their parents. Stephen has a dark past and secrets that they are all unaware of.
    It is a genre that I wouldnt normally read but am very glad I did. Confronting in places and beautifully written I would recommend The Wolf Hour to anyone who likes a gripping read.
    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Allen and Unwin for allowing me to read and review this great novel.

  19. thank you for the opportunity to review the Wolf Hour by Sarah Myles. Published by Allen & Unwin.
    Set in Africa amidst its civil war with child soldiers and with the backdrop of assistance or interference from the western world. The characters travel to Africa. Tessa to save the children, …..Stephen for adventure and thrills and money ….and their parents to save their children. But are the characters finding out who they really are in this harsh place with few second chances. Are their motives really what they say they are. When Stephen is sent to save his sister at all costs why is the cost then too high for their parents to face. Do we really understand those closest to us. I considered that Stephen was the only character that understood who he was or was he just damaged liked everyone else.
    A good read with hidden motives and you are guessing what each characters true motives are.
    I thought the ending left the reader a little high and dry ….
    I give a rating of 4.2 out of 5.

  20. The Wolf Hour, by Sarah Myles, was a brilliant and thought provoking read.
    Tessa travels to Uganda to research the effects of PSTF on child soldiers, but gets into difficulty.
    Her brother is sent to help, and this opens many other deep family issues.
    A fascinating story on survival in war torn Africa, and definitely worth a read!

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