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The Running Wolf

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When a German smuggler is imprisoned in Morpeth Gaol in the winter of 1703, why does Queen Anne's powerful right-hand man, The Earl of Nottingham, take such a keen interest? At the end of the turbulent 17th century, the ties that bind men are fraying, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and brother against brother. Beneath a seething layer of religio When a German smuggler is imprisoned in Morpeth Gaol in the winter of 1703, why does Queen Anne's powerful right-hand man, The Earl of Nottingham, take such a keen interest? At the end of the turbulent 17th century, the ties that bind men are fraying, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and brother against brother. Beneath a seething layer of religious intolerance, community suspicion and political intrigue, The Running Wolf takes us deep into the heart of rebel country in the run-up to the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Hermann Mohll is a master sword maker from Solingen in Germany who risks his life by breaking his guild oaths and settling in England. While trying to save his family and neighbours from poverty, he is caught smuggling swords and finds himself in Morpeth Gaol facing charges of High Treason. Determined to hold his tongue and his nerve, Mohll finds himself at the mercy of the corrupt keeper, Robert Tipstaff. The keeper fancies he can persuade the truth out of Mohll and make him face the ultimate justice: hanging, drawing and quartering. But in this tangled web of secrets and lies, just who is telling the truth?


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When a German smuggler is imprisoned in Morpeth Gaol in the winter of 1703, why does Queen Anne's powerful right-hand man, The Earl of Nottingham, take such a keen interest? At the end of the turbulent 17th century, the ties that bind men are fraying, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and brother against brother. Beneath a seething layer of religio When a German smuggler is imprisoned in Morpeth Gaol in the winter of 1703, why does Queen Anne's powerful right-hand man, The Earl of Nottingham, take such a keen interest? At the end of the turbulent 17th century, the ties that bind men are fraying, turning neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and brother against brother. Beneath a seething layer of religious intolerance, community suspicion and political intrigue, The Running Wolf takes us deep into the heart of rebel country in the run-up to the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Hermann Mohll is a master sword maker from Solingen in Germany who risks his life by breaking his guild oaths and settling in England. While trying to save his family and neighbours from poverty, he is caught smuggling swords and finds himself in Morpeth Gaol facing charges of High Treason. Determined to hold his tongue and his nerve, Mohll finds himself at the mercy of the corrupt keeper, Robert Tipstaff. The keeper fancies he can persuade the truth out of Mohll and make him face the ultimate justice: hanging, drawing and quartering. But in this tangled web of secrets and lies, just who is telling the truth?

42 review for The Running Wolf

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (Bookfever)

    3.5/5★ Aside from The Running Wolf having a really beautiful cover, the story itself was also a fascinating one to read. It was near impossible to put down the book for the last 150 or so pages and those I read in only a few sittings. I just had to know how it was going to end. The only reason why I didn't give it a half star more and round it up to four was that the start was a bit rough for me. It took me some time to really get into the story and actually connect with the characters. It all had 3.5/5★ Aside from The Running Wolf having a really beautiful cover, the story itself was also a fascinating one to read. It was near impossible to put down the book for the last 150 or so pages and those I read in only a few sittings. I just had to know how it was going to end. The only reason why I didn't give it a half star more and round it up to four was that the start was a bit rough for me. It took me some time to really get into the story and actually connect with the characters. It all had to grow on me for a bit. Once I did get into the story and connected with it, though, I was thoroughly hooked and excited as well as scared to see where the story would lead and what would happen with the characters, especially the main character, Hermann. I thought it was really interesting to read about a master sword maker because I don't think I ever read a book featuring someone with that skill and knowledge. I also enjoyed reading about Hermann's family and how close they were. They warmed my heart, they really did. Even Griselda the dog stole my heart. Set near the end of the 17th century and the start of the 18th century with dual timelines, The Running Wolf by Helen Steadman is a well-researched and intricate historical fiction like no other.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    The book’s clever structure alternates between Morpeth Gaol in 1703-4, with events narrated by its wily and dishonest keeper Robert Tipstaff, and the story of the Solingen swordmakers, focused on Herman Mohll and his family. Starting with their arrival in Shotley Bridge in 1687, gradually the two storylines come together as the reader learns chapter by chapter how Mohll comes to find himself a prisoner and facing a charge of high treason. Along the way, the reader discovers much about the art of The book’s clever structure alternates between Morpeth Gaol in 1703-4, with events narrated by its wily and dishonest keeper Robert Tipstaff, and the story of the Solingen swordmakers, focused on Herman Mohll and his family. Starting with their arrival in Shotley Bridge in 1687, gradually the two storylines come together as the reader learns chapter by chapter how Mohll comes to find himself a prisoner and facing a charge of high treason. Along the way, the reader discovers much about the art of swordmaking, as Mohll instructs his apprentice in the various stages, and also about the risk of injury presented by the work and its dangerous long-term effects on health. I particularly enjoyed the way the author introduced into the story themes which have contemporary resonance. For example, the Solingen swordmakers are essentially economic migrants, driven to move to England because that is where the best market for their products exists and the most favourable economic future for their families. The mention of duties and tariffs on the high quality steel imported from Germany had me thinking (unfortunately) of Brexit. Other issues touched on are the power of the Guilds in the swordmakers’ native Germany and the value from an intellectual property point of view of the Solingen swordmakers’ knowledge of the secret of making their famous blades. Perhaps one of the most interesting themes is that of identity. Some of the Solingen swordmakers are anxious to hold on to their sense of being German – to create “a little Solingen” in Shotley Bridge – whilst others, including Hermann, see the necessity, indeed the inevitability, of integration with their English neighbours. As he observes, “Air must take on the scent and taste of whatever it touched, moving around the earth, the wind whipping along from country to country. It would be better to be like the air, carrying a little of whatever he’d touched but constantly moving and blending in”. In particular, when it comes to his young daughter Liesl, Hermann recognizes he can’t ‘insulate’ her from England and pretend she still lives in Germany. Readers will be pleased to know, however, the Mohlls don’t ditch all of their German customs, as the splendid description of their Christmas celebrations demonstrates. The Mohlls are Lutheran but, ironically, Hermann is suspected of smuggling arms to aid the Jacobite cause. At one point he muses, “If only men the world over could accept there was a single Creator but many ways of praising Him, the world might be a happier place and mankind might stop tearing itself apart“. This from a man who makes swords for a living and regrets the commercial impact on their replacement by guns in modern warfare. As with Helen Steadman’s previous books, Widdershins and Sunwise (both of which I can recommend), her research is clearly extensive. For example, she reveals in her afterword that, in the course of her research into the Shotley Bridge swordmakers, she discovered archive documents that shed new light on a three hundred year-old mystery. I was also interested to learn that one of the characters in the book – the ‘madman’ Ralph Maddison – whom I initially regarded as a bit farfetched, did exist in real life and was very likely a near neighbour of the Shotley Bridge swordmakers. Well, they do say truth is stranger than fiction! You can find out more about Helen’s research for the book, which included learning the art of swordmaking, on her website. The Running Wolf is an example of the kind of historical fiction I love. It’s a finely honed blend of historical fact and the author’s imagination; a work of creativity to match one of Herman Mohll’s swords you could say. 

  3. 5 out of 5

    Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)

    The Running Wolf is a complex, exciting, drama-filled historical full of intrigue and danger. I was gripped from the start. I loved the eeriness of the story, from page one there is something lurking in the background, in the story, it’s described as the ‘Wolf’, there is danger threading within the story and hovers over the characters like a heavy mist waiting to settle. The opening has you hooked, we first meet Hermann Mohll, a master sword maker in Germany (Prussia) who is having to relocate hi The Running Wolf is a complex, exciting, drama-filled historical full of intrigue and danger. I was gripped from the start. I loved the eeriness of the story, from page one there is something lurking in the background, in the story, it’s described as the ‘Wolf’, there is danger threading within the story and hovers over the characters like a heavy mist waiting to settle. The opening has you hooked, we first meet Hermann Mohll, a master sword maker in Germany (Prussia) who is having to relocate his family due to the work drying up, his village is on its knees he has no choice but to make a new life for himself and his little family in England. As well as his skills with the blade and his knowledge in how to create the perfect sword, he also has secrets buried deep, secrets that he has to protect for dear life. Once on English soil Hermann soon realises that there are dangers that even he may not be able to save his family from, there are snakes in the grass that are ready to strike at any moment, and soon he finds himself facing that very serpent. I really like Hermann, he is just an ordinary man who is trying to do his best for his family and unfortunately for him he finds himself stuck bang in the middle of the political storm, a country that has been torn apart and he has to answer a question he doesn’t know the answers to. There is a lot going on, and to quote the back blurb; ‘Tangled web of secrets and lies’ and that is this book, in a nutshell, you don’t know who to believe, the plot twists and turns until the very end which keeps you utterly gripped. I was completely enthralled with this intricately woven, remarkable and compelling tale which had me perched at the edge of my chair far too often. The writing is excellent, Helen Steadman masterfully transports the reader from their comfy armchair to the brutal and intricate 17th century where secrets and lies are powerful enemies and allies. I cannot recommend this enough, definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a darker, grittier historical the keeps the little grey cells turning.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, with thanks to Love Books Tours, the publisher and the author. This fact has not changed my opinion on this book. For those who follow my reviews, you know. I don't tend to like historical fiction. It's actually one of my least read genres but something about the description of this book drew me to it and boy, am I glad. This book is set just before the Jacobean resistance in the 1700's and follows the life of a german family who I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, with thanks to Love Books Tours, the publisher and the author. This fact has not changed my opinion on this book. For those who follow my reviews, you know. I don't tend to like historical fiction. It's actually one of my least read genres but something about the description of this book drew me to it and boy, am I glad. This book is set just before the Jacobean resistance in the 1700's and follows the life of a german family who migrate to England for the chances of a better life. The head of the family, Herr Mohl, is a swordsmaker, and it follows his journey, life and raising his daughter in England as things not only change politically and socially in England, but elsewhere in Europe. The events unfold in a switching narrative between the past and present tense and follows the lead up to Herr Mohl's imprisonment. I really enjoyed this story as I've mentioned about, which shocked me. I thought at first it was maybe because I loved the cover I was drawn to this book, however, it was an incredibly interesting and well paced story. The setting was one I hadn't experienced before and the characters were more real than many I've come across in other historical fiction books. I would recommend this one to fans of the genre.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ryles

    After her amazing novels inspired by the Newcastle witch trials, Helen Steadman looks at the 17th century through a new pair of eyes in her latest novel, The Running Wolf. Helen is not only an outstanding author, she is a meticulous researcher and she even forged her own sword as part of her research for The Running Wolf. I mean, how awesome is that?! I have to say, I was slightly nervous that a novel about a master sword maker wouldn't spark my imagination (sorry, I couldn't resist) and hold my After her amazing novels inspired by the Newcastle witch trials, Helen Steadman looks at the 17th century through a new pair of eyes in her latest novel, The Running Wolf. Helen is not only an outstanding author, she is a meticulous researcher and she even forged her own sword as part of her research for The Running Wolf. I mean, how awesome is that?! I have to say, I was slightly nervous that a novel about a master sword maker wouldn't spark my imagination (sorry, I couldn't resist) and hold my attention, but I needn't have worried as Helen Steadman has proven yet again that she is a master wordsmith. The very first sentence gave me goosebumps; it is just so perfect and, coupled with the sentences that followed, I felt like I should have stood up to give Helen Steadman a round of applause. So cover me in Velcro and call me gripped. The story spans 19 years as we follow Hermann Mohll's journey from his home in Solingen, Prussia to Shotley Bridge, North East England via a brief stay in Morpeth Gaol. Hermann uproots his whole family as he and a team of sword makers set sail for England to make swords for the English, who do indeed like fighting each other. I absolutely adored Hermann's family; his wife Katrin who misses her old life terribly, his spirited daughter Liesl, his mother whose tongue is as sharp as Hermann's swords and Griselda their one-eared dog. It must have been so hard for these families to build a new life in England, only to be treated with suspicion and contempt. The family unit is so strong and Helen Steadman's writing is so warm and descriptive that the characters are very three dimensional, virtually leaping from the page. The story itself is compelling and intriguing as time flicks back and forth from Hermann in Gaol to his new home in Shotley Bridge. You can't help but wonder why he has been imprisoned and the more I got to know him the more furious I felt that he was suffering such indignity. I find it remarkable that Helen Steadman can write so much history into her novels so that you learn something new whilst reading a fictional story. Aside from the real sword makers of Shotley Bridge being the inspiration for the story, I was delighted to see the salt pans of South Shields getting a mention as I actually only found out about them recently when reading an information board in the town. Helen Steadman really does bring history to life through her wonderful fact-based storytelling. The Running Wolf is simply stunning; it's so beautifully written, with a riveting plot and enthralling characters that could have leapt out from the page along with the sparks from the forge. This is one not to be missed and I can't recommend it highly enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shaz Goodwin

    https://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/revie... I do enjoy stories that are based on fact with fiction woven through. It is obvious that Helen Steadman has immersed herself in the sword maker’s world – and in her afterword we find out just how dedicated she was. This shines through in her writing. Everything feels authentic at Shotley Bridge – the community, the way of life, the rituals, the expectations, the politics and even the language used. I have acquired a couple of additions to my vocabulary – m https://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/revie... I do enjoy stories that are based on fact with fiction woven through. It is obvious that Helen Steadman has immersed herself in the sword maker’s world – and in her afterword we find out just how dedicated she was. This shines through in her writing. Everything feels authentic at Shotley Bridge – the community, the way of life, the rituals, the expectations, the politics and even the language used. I have acquired a couple of additions to my vocabulary – my two favourite words /gnashgob/ and /devil-cleper/ ! I’d never heard of candle auctions before so did a bit of digging and love that some are still held traditionally today. The difference between cultures is depicted in a graphic scene – not for the squeamish. This did make me think about rituals, beliefs, how we defend and keep identities and how even today these differences impact on lives. The sword making process is fascinating and I have to be honest, the Mohll family fascinated me just as much. Even though we see life through Hermann’s perspective, being wrenched from your family as Katrin is and having to make a new life alongside a mother-in-law who always criticises you is a tough one. Hermann’s not the best at realising some actions aren’t the right ones either. He’s a very practical man with his family but his intuition and inner knowing for working the metal feels spiritual – it’s almost a religion in itself. I did like his character. It is what it is with him and he has no filter. I’ve found myself wondering what life will be like for them after the story ended. Politics are touched on by Robert Tipstaff, gaoler of Morpeth Gaol. The hunt for the foreigner and the new prisoners arriving from the ship give the opportunity of anchoring the time the story is set in history. There are some great scenes set here too. The Running Wolf is a captivating read and if you enjoy historical fiction, should be on your shelf. Recommended. (ps I love that the descendants of some of the characters were involved with helping the author with her story).

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaffareadstoo

    Hermann Mohll is a master sword maker from Solingen in Prussia, who discovers momentous cracks in the foundation of everything he once held true and with a heavy heart he moves to the north east of England with his family. The transition between countries isn’t easy, especially when Mohll gets drawn into dangerous events which are beyond his control and as we move effortlessly in time so we have a tantalising glimpse into a country which is steeped in deadly turmoil. The latter years of the seve Hermann Mohll is a master sword maker from Solingen in Prussia, who discovers momentous cracks in the foundation of everything he once held true and with a heavy heart he moves to the north east of England with his family. The transition between countries isn’t easy, especially when Mohll gets drawn into dangerous events which are beyond his control and as we move effortlessly in time so we have a tantalising glimpse into a country which is steeped in deadly turmoil. The latter years of the seventeenth century are fraught with danger and religious adversity, and the dark shadow of history is very much apparent as this complex story progresses. The Running Wolf is wonderfully atmospheric. The opening chapter creates such an immediate sense of time and place that I was catapulted back through time and became part of the Solingen community, conjuring the dreams thieves as they tipped their beady eye over the sleeping villagers. And for a master craftsman like Hermann Mohll, who is struggling with the indecision of leaving his homeland and breaking with the guild, his life will never be the same again. There is no doubt as to this author’s ability to tell a good story. The Running Wolf as all the trademarks of her undeniable skill in discovering a hidden truth and writing an authentic and historically accurate story which is just waiting to be told. She did this with the Newcastle witch trials in Widdershins and Sunwise and has done it again in The Running Wolf, combining little known factual history with an engrossing fictional tale of intrigue, danger and skulduggery. Exciting, atmospheric and filled with a deadly sense of danger, The Running Wolf is expertly researched and beautifully written historical fiction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Drama and danger are abound in this history mystery. Centered around Hermann Mohll, a master sword maker from Prussia, the plot is filled with mystery and intrigue. After Mohll is forced to move to the North of England due to hardship, he finds himself embroiled in a plot that will change the course of his life. The main thing that drew me to this novel was the setting – not only the era of the 17th century but also the fact that it’s based near where I grew up! I loved reading about all the ment Drama and danger are abound in this history mystery. Centered around Hermann Mohll, a master sword maker from Prussia, the plot is filled with mystery and intrigue. After Mohll is forced to move to the North of England due to hardship, he finds himself embroiled in a plot that will change the course of his life. The main thing that drew me to this novel was the setting – not only the era of the 17th century but also the fact that it’s based near where I grew up! I loved reading about all the mentions of local places I’ve heard of and it really added to the realism of the novel for me. Furthermore, Steadman is great at bringing the era to life. It’s evident that they’ve really researched the period and this really shows in their writing. But, if you’re not familiar with the north of England, I would still highly recommend reading this book. It is a tale full of twists and turns that will keep you on your toes until the very end.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angi Plant

    Where do you start with a book of this quality? I was hooked from the off with the characters that were engaging, interesting, complex and fully formed than many real people can be! Her settings are painted with no glossy veneer that says the time frame was wonderful. Just honest and exactly as it would have been. I love Helen Steadmans work. So much so I have bought Widdershins and may treat myself to Sunwise after that!! Some historical fiction is all pretty and none of the realism is there. N Where do you start with a book of this quality? I was hooked from the off with the characters that were engaging, interesting, complex and fully formed than many real people can be! Her settings are painted with no glossy veneer that says the time frame was wonderful. Just honest and exactly as it would have been. I love Helen Steadmans work. So much so I have bought Widdershins and may treat myself to Sunwise after that!! Some historical fiction is all pretty and none of the realism is there. Not so in Helen’s work. It’s magic comes from its truth and I can’t give higher praise. It’s so rich in detail I shall likely reread it. Absolutely loved it. Thanks to Helen Steadman, Impress Books and Lovebooksgroup for this fantastic book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jo Williams

    I enjoyed this book, not least because I used to live in Morpeth where the protagonist, Hermann Mohll, is held in the town gaol by corrupt keeper, Robert Tipstaff. I used to walk or drive past it every day, often looking up at the imposing building and wondering what it must have been like centuries ago. Helen Steadman showed me, and her research definitely shone through. It was fascinating reading about the daily life of immigrant Prussian swordsmiths, their troubles settling amongst the locals, I enjoyed this book, not least because I used to live in Morpeth where the protagonist, Hermann Mohll, is held in the town gaol by corrupt keeper, Robert Tipstaff. I used to walk or drive past it every day, often looking up at the imposing building and wondering what it must have been like centuries ago. Helen Steadman showed me, and her research definitely shone through. It was fascinating reading about the daily life of immigrant Prussian swordsmiths, their troubles settling amongst the locals, and the difficulties they faced at the mercy of greedy steel suppliers. I enjoyed reading Robert Tipstaff’s musings and observations, and found them especially immersive as those chapters are written in Northumbrian dialect. There were some rather graphic scenes of slaughtering animals but this was part and parcel of survival then, which is lost on the majority of modern readers like me who purchase meat in sterile, plastic packages. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction based around real events.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Celeste Cruz

    I found the book enjoyable. Interested in how it is set in a different time period and the development of the story. It shows how much effort and research the author did for this story. Also, it’s interesting that the author learn so much in her researched and was able to create this well written story base on that. It is a historical piece in which I’m not familiar with the timeline but nonetheless it was very entertaining and different.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Ward

    3/5

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Belmont

    Review: Running Wolf by Helen Steadman is an intriguing novel. I loved the setting. I felt transported back in time. It is clear this author did her research to make this feel authentic. This is quite a tangled web, as the blurb says. I love how I was left guessing who was telling the truth. I had a very difficult time piecing it all together until the very end. Overall, Running Wolf, is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. The writing is wonderful. I wouldn’t miss this one. Rating: 4/5☆ *I received a free c Review: Running Wolf by Helen Steadman is an intriguing novel. I loved the setting. I felt transported back in time. It is clear this author did her research to make this feel authentic. This is quite a tangled web, as the blurb says. I love how I was left guessing who was telling the truth. I had a very difficult time piecing it all together until the very end. Overall, Running Wolf, is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. The writing is wonderful. I wouldn’t miss this one. Rating: 4/5☆ *I received a free copy of this book from Love Books Group in exchange for an honest review on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne Elizabeth Charlton

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon Robb

  16. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Novelle Novels

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Hill

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abhi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex (ReadingBetweenTheNotes)

  22. 5 out of 5

    MR CHARLES

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lydia 🌻

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julia Marie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tallis

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

  28. 4 out of 5

    Garth Johnson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Moses

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  33. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  34. 5 out of 5

    Adele

  35. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  36. 5 out of 5

    Emma Lake

  37. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  38. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  39. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Bri (brisbookbag)

  40. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lekeshua

  42. 5 out of 5

    Hervör

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