Jack Douglas had the perfect life, but it’s quickly taken from him when his family is killed in a car accident. He leaves the ministry and his life as a pastor behind to travel across America and ends up working for an oil rig. After a violent confrontation and a tragic loss, he’s driven to the Alaskan wilderness where he encounters the mysterious Amaroq wolf. As he tries to rebuild his life, he finds a place for himself working on a king crab fishing boat and a surprising second chance at love with the owner of a local inn.
Author James Charles presents Jack’s perfect life in a snapshot of a morning with his family, right before yanking that happiness away. A majority of the plot deals with devastating circumstances as Charles weaves in an empowering arc of Jack picking himself up, grief and all, and moving forward. After losing his wife and kids, Jack experiences a realistic portrayal of shock and grief, shown through a dazed-like state of numbness. His questioning of his role as a pastor pushes him to run away from the haunted memory of his family. Charles quickly establishes Jack as a good person, failing to fully disconnect himself from others by playing the hero. He’s often portrayed as the caricature of a champion, punished for this heroism through violence or tragedy. The author reflects on a gritty society through social commentary, as seen in Jack’s journey and the people he encounters.
Jack finds a fresh start in Alaska by forming a new congregation and connecting with the wilderness. Romance is the last thing he expects to find after losing his wife, but his relationship with Qaniit is key in allowing him to heal from everything he lost. Jack’s religious connection is at the root of his journey, as he turns away from being a pastor and struggles with his faith when the worst happens, making his spiritual connection to the mystical Amaroq wolf more critical. The wolf weaves in and out of reality and dreams as a constant protector guiding him out of his pain.
The struggle to move forward makes SPIRIT OF THE AMAROQ an empowering and realistic read as author James Charles captures the emotional process of putting life back together after losing everything.
~Elizabeth Konkel for IndieReader