Monday, January 09, 2012

The Loop

It's no wonder British author Nicholas Evans writes interesting books.  He leads an interesting life.  He studied law at Oxford University, worked as a journalist, produced documentary films, and has traveled extensively.  He is best known for his debut novel, The Horse Whisperer.  If you didn't read the book, maybe you saw the movie directed by and starring Robert Redford.

The Loop is a novel based on the re-introduction of wolves to the Rocky Mountains. The wolf colony that was brought to Yellowstone National Park has grown, and wolf packs have spread outside the park. In the town of Hope, Montana, ranchers strongly oppose the wolf's return;  environmentalists support it.  The local U.S. Fish & Wildlife agents find themselves squarely in the middle of the controversy.   The book opens with a wolf attack on the property of Buck Calder, a very influential rancher.  The "special agent" called in by the local Fish & Wildlife office to investigate wolf activity in the area is a biologist named Helen Ross who is running away from a love life gone bad as much as she is running towards a challenging new job.  From there, the plot unfolds. 

What makes The Loop particularly engaging is all the information that accompanies the plot's adventure, intrigue, and romance.  The facts about wolves as well as the politics and the various opinions about the re-introduction of wolves are solid and clearly explained.  The real "hook" that held my interest throughout the 544 pages was the detailed descriptions of what field biologists actually do.  Their work with wolves runs the gamut from computer technology to wilderness tracking and physical contact with the wolves themselves -- examining them and attaching tracking devices.  Very cool stuff! 

I liked The Loop for a few personal reasons as well.  It recalled for me some wonderful vacations in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks.  I'm also very interested in wildlife and I knew very little about wolves before reading this book.  Finally, I must admit that a love story thrown into the mix has its appeal as well. All in all, The Loop is a fascinating tale that weaves many elements together into a most enjoyable book.

Additional information on wolves:

Note:  On October 4, 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife service announced its proposal to remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species, claiming that its numbers demonstrate it no longer needs protection.  Hearings are in progress and information is being collected.  Needless to say, the wolf controversy is far from over. 

To see blog posts about other books I've read, click HERE.

© 2012, Linda Mason Hood
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Flo said...

Ello! You asked about book recommendations a few weeks ago at WBF and I've got some.

Mind of the Raven - a biologist observes ravens in the natural world as well as some captive wild ones.. their intelligence and personalities are amazing.

Alex and I - about the parrot from the alex project. Very insightful, and while you dont get the wild behaviors of african greys, you read about how alex learns words and actually put them into context. its not a scientific report, but you definitely think that he has a brain.

Dont Shoot the dog- a book about sounds like its about dog training which is why people read it but it gives a whole lot more insight on how positive reinforcement applies everywhere in life

Linda said...

Thanks Flo! I'll add those titles to my list.