In the Shadow of Wolves

Pages: 208
Subject: Fiction, Translated Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

In the Shadow of Wolves

Alvydas Šlepikas

Translated by Romas Kinka
A powerful story of survival and resilience in a world devastated by the Second World War
9781786074683 (6 Jun 2019)
RRP £12.99 / US$24.95

The Book


Winner of the Georg Dehio Book Prize 2018

The Second World War is drawing to a close, but the world is far from safe. Left to fend for themselves, women and children are forced out of their homes in East Prussia to make way for the advancing victors. As the Russian soldiers arrive, the women know that they are still very much in danger, and that for them, the fight for survival is only just beginning.

Facing critical food shortages and the onset of a bitter cold winter without heat, the women send their children into the nearby forests where they secretly cross the border into Lithuania, begging the local farmers for work or food to take back home to their waiting families. Along the way the children find cruelty, hardship and violence, but also kindness, hope, and the promise of a new and better future.

Based on meticulous research, this stunning and powerful debut novel by Alvydas Šlepikas tells for the first time the story of the ‘wolf children' and the measures many families were forced to take in order to survive.

Additional Information

Subject Fiction, Translated Fiction
Pages 208
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Alvydas Šlepikas is one of the most multi-talented contemporary Lithuanian writers - he is a poet, prose writer, playwright, screenwriter, actor and director. He has frequently edited editions originating from the annual Spring Poetry Festival, edited the cultural weekly, Literatūra ir menas, and currently oversees the fiction section of this journal.

Romas Kinka works as a forensic linguist and a literary translator and finds that the two disciplines complement one another. Born in Lithuania, he has lived in England on and off since the age of six but returns to his motherland every day by translating the work of Lithuanian authors.


‘Vivid, highly dramatic and compelling... Alvydas Šlepikas has broken the dam of silence.'

- Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

‘This novel finds the perfect balance between documentary and literary narrative.'

- Kieler Nachrichten

‘Alvydas Šlepikas has written a sensitive novel that takes us back to a time filled with death, violence, hunger and bitter cold. This novel broke the taboo of silence in Lithuania.'

- Eckard Scheld, Leipzig Book Fair

‘Alvydas Šlepikas uses concise language and fast-paced scenes to portray the children's will to survive, the unimaginable cruelty as well as the help that some of the children received. Highly recommended.'

- ekz service for libraries

‘In poetic language that is by turns concise and compact, Alvydas Šlepikas brings justice for his young heroes and victims. Readers can almost smell the cold sweat of the women and girls as they encounter drunken soldiers, feel the deep, penetrating hunger, the biting winter cold, the beatings suffered and handed out by children as they fight for a single morsel of food, and share in their despair and their sheer will to survive.'

- hansen & munk

'Šlepikas - who is also a scriptwriter and director - injects his writing with a dramatic urgency that seeks to capture the scale of extraordinary suffering.'

- The Calvert Journal

'In the Shadow of Wolves is fast-paced, with the children sharing one experience after another. And the reader is always there too, hiding with the children in old railway trains, praying and hoping with them.'

- BR24 (Germany)