Empire of Wild Summary and Study Guide | SuperSummary (2024)


Empire of Wild is a novel by the Métis novelist Cherie Dimaline, and it was published in 2019. The novel follows a Métis woman as she embarks on a quest to find her missing husband and incorporates elements of horror and magical realism. The novel draws on Indigenous mythology—particularly the legend of the rogarou—and explores the impact of Christianity, government exploitation, and colonialism on Indigenous people in Canada.

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Content Warning: The novel contains references to sexual assault, violence against women, and the abuse of children and animals.

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Joan Beausoleil is a woman in her late thirties who lives in the small community of Arcand, Ontario. Joan is a Métis woman, an Indigenous group who traces their ancestry back to relationships between early European settlers and First Nations individuals. She is part of a close-knit extended family, including her mother, two brothers, her grandmother, and her young cousin, Zeus. At the start of the plot, Joan’s husband, Victor, has been missing for nearly a year, and she is desperately trying to understand where he could have gone.

By chance, Joan happens upon a traveling Christian ministry and is shocked to see Victor there. However, Victor has no recollection of Joan and goes by the name the Reverend Eugene Wolff. A sinister man named Thomas Heiser, who is the leader of the ministry, tells Joan to accept that her husband is dead. Joan is deeply confused, and many people tell her that she must simply be mistaking another man for Victor. However, after her grandmother is killed in an attack by a wolf or large dog, Joan consults an elderly woman named Ajean and begins to reflect more on the mythology of the rogarou, a wolf-like monster said to roam the forests at night. Joan begins to wonder if Heiser could be a rogarou or some sort of similar monster who is holding Victor captive and leaving him unable to recognize her. Joan is convinced that she can evoke Victor’s memories and true identity. Zeus often helps her on her various trips and activities as she tries to track down Victor and understand how to help him.

While Joan embarks on this project, an alternating narrative unfolds describing Victor’s experiences. He is trapped in a large enclosure somewhere, with a sinister presence lurking outside of it. He can sense that Joan is trying to find him, but he is unable to communicate directly with her. Victor has been possessed by a rogarou, and his true self is now trapped in a liminal, magical space. Since Heiser is a Wolfsegner (a man endowed with a magical ability to charm and entrance wolves), he is controlling both Victor and another rogarou-possessed man named Robe. Heiser has a lucrative business brokering industrial development contracts with Indigenous communities and uses the traveling ministry as a means to do so: Victor’s charismatic preaching leads Indigenous people to convert to evangelical Christianity, and then they become much more amenable to signing away their rights and lands. Heiser is determined to keep Victor under his sway.

Cecile, a woman who also works as part of the ministry, is attracted to Victor and feels hurt when he rejects her advances. She decides to bring about his downfall instead and shares the location of the ministry with Joan. Once Joan has arrived at the location where the members of the ministry are staying, Cecile starts a large fire, which she plans to blame on Joan. Cecile ends up dying in the fire; amidst the chaos, Joan is able to lure Victor away and begin to bring him back to his true identity. She is horrified to learn that Victor was the one who killed her grandmother, but she still wants to save him.

Heiser and Robe attack Victor and Joan. They plan to kill Joan so that Victor will securely remain a rogarou forever. Before they can do so, Victor is able to break free of the rogarou that has been possessing him. He attacks Heiser and causes a car crash. After the crash, Victor and Joan are free to escape. They offer to help Robe, but he is now pure rogarou, and the human man whose body he once possessed is completely gone. Robe runs into the woods, and Victor and Joan hurry away, leaving Heiser with severe injuries from the crash. When they get back to where Joan left Zeus, the young boy has disappeared. Zeus has become a rogarou, and Joan is determined to find and save him like she saved Victor.

Joan calls to tell Ajean what has happened to Zeus and that she is making her way back home. Later that night, Ajean is woken up by sinister noises outside, and knows that Zeus, in his new rogarou form, is making his way back toward her and that she is in danger. Ajean thinks about the gruesome way in which Victor killed Joan’s grandmother and hopes that Joan will get back quickly. The novel ends ambiguously and forebodingly, with the threat of a confrontation between Joan and Zeus in his new rogarou form.

Empire of Wild Summary and Study Guide | SuperSummary (2024)


What is the summary of the empire of the wild? ›

Overview. Empire of Wild is a novel by the Métis novelist Cherie Dimaline, and it was published in 2019. The novel follows a Métis woman as she embarks on a quest to find her missing husband and incorporates elements of horror and magical realism.

Is there a sequel to Empire of Wild? ›

A complex, layered, fast-paced story with vivid characters and a haunting atmosphere, Empire of Wild will have you on the edge of your seat as you root for Joan and Zeus until the final open-ended line. I have Dimaline's other book... The Marrow Thieves and it now has a sequel - Hunting by Stars!

Where does the Empire of Wild take place? ›

Set in a small community in rural Ontario, Empire of Wild opens a year after Victor Beausoleil walked out in the middle of a heated argument about land rights with his wife, Joan.

How many pages is Empire of Wild? ›

Product information
Publisher‎William Morrow (July 28 2020)
Hardcover320 pages
5 more rows

What is the message of Empire of Wild? ›

Empire of Wild lays bare the depressing but not surprising ways in which mining companies, other similar corporate outfits, will use religion as a way to captivate and manipulate Indigenous communities whose land they want to develop or exploit. In this way, Dimaline illustrates how colonialism in Canada is ongoing.

What is the summary of the wild? ›

Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a memoir that chronicles the author's journey of self-discovery as she embarks on a 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. It is a captivating story of resilience, healing, and finding one's true path.

What does it mean to be an Indigenous writer? ›

Starting with a definition of indigenous peoples as the original or natural inhabitants of a country or region, one may describe indigenous literature as literature produced by original or native peoples and their descendants. Literature can take many forms: poetry, drama, fiction and creative nonfiction.

Did Cherie Dimaline go to college? ›

She does not have an MFA or even a high-school diploma. Born in Orillia, Ont., to a white father and a Métis mother with Anishinaabe and Menominee ancestry, Dimaline moved around a lot with her family because of her father's job; he was a chef (and part-time magician).

Is Cherie Dimaline alive? ›

Cherie currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she coordinates the annual Indigenous Writers' Gathering.

Who is the Rougarou in Empire of Wild? ›

Dimaline revisits Métis stories of the Rougarou, a part-human and part-wolf being that has been variously represented as a woman-wolf roaming the forests at night (if you consult Marie Campbell's transcriptions of traditional Michif oral stories) or, according to Empire of Wild, a vicious man-dog who marks the ...

What is the meaning of the story after while by Cherie Dimaline? ›

In Cherie Dimaline's story "After 'While," the themes of love and abandonment are explored through the main character, Lucky's, journey. Lucky's parents abandoned her when she was a young child, and her grandmother's death leaves her feeling isolated and disconnected from the world.

Where does the wild book take place? ›

“Wild” recounts the months Ms. Strayed spent, during the summer of 1995, when she was 26, hiking alone on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. There were very frightening moments, but nothing particularly extraordinary happened to her.

What is the longest book series? ›

What Is the Longest Single Author Book Series? The Guin Saga also takes the top prize in the longest single-author book series ever because Kurimoto wrote the first 147 herself, in addition to other related manga stories. Other long book series penned by a single individual include: Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.

How many books are in the wild? ›

The Bible is sub divided into two major Sections; The Old and the New Testament. There are 66 "books" that make up the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The first 5 books of the Old Testament are about Israel's Beginnings and are the books of the law, also known as The Pentateuch (Torah).

What series is Empire of Storms in? ›

Kingdoms collide in this fifth book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series. “Tightly plotted, delightful escapism.”

What is the short summary of the book The Call of the Wild? ›

What is the plot of The Call of the Wild? In The Call of the Wild, Buck is stolen from his human owner, Judge Miller. He is taken and sold as a sled dog in the Yukon region of Canada. He learns how to work as a sled dog and how to survive in the harsh conditions.

What is the summary of that wild country? ›

The title says it all: Kenyon alternates chapters of engaging personal experience exploring American public lands -- national parks, wilderness, grassland, lakeshore, etc. with chapters exploring the history of the US Public Lands movement up to the present day and the dangers it faces.

What is the summary of the book running wild? ›

The story, Running Wild written by Michael Morpurgo, is set in Asia. It is about a boy who gets swept up in a tsunami with only an elephant to help him survive. As he searches for help and other survivors, he meets a number of interesting characters along the way.

What is the summary of wild lands? ›

Isabel Montalbán, an uptown girl, moves to the little town where her husband's, family lives. Nevertheless, everyone ignores that her presence in this house is about to change the entire family's destiny, for good. Isabel just married to Aníbal Otero, a young and ambitious businessman.


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