A hidden town deep in the forests of the Yukon territory was mysteriously abandoned years ago. Now, it’s been repopulated by a collection of various outlaws and fugitives. Sawtooth is a well-kept secret among criminals – a place where the most dangerous men go to disappear, where lawmen choose not to follow. The town’s brothel is run by Constance, a shrewd madam hiding from a confederate bounty on her head. She runs her place with a tough hand, while repressing an unwanted attraction she feels toward a silent newcomer, a man who calls himself Carter.
Mr Sims, one of the town’s outlaw residents, has sent an invitation to narcissistic industrialist John Van Patten, revealing an untapped silver bounty under Sawtooth that the previous residents conveniently left for the taking. Sims and Van Patten enter into a tenuous business partnership, with millions to be made. Constance spies on the men, disinclined to be left out of a lucrative deal that could help her buy back her status and safety in the world – but she’s interrupted by the arrival of a runaway teenage girl named Roksana.
Constance takes Roksana in, mystified by this girl who only speaks Russian, seemingly abandoned in the woods. Roksana falls under the protection of the brothel girls, bonding with this family of painted ladies – while Van Patten is revealed as a sociopathic pedophile, offering Constance her heart’s desire in exchange for Roksana. Constance struggles internally before killing Van Patten in Roksana’s defense. She begs Carter to help her dispose of the evidence – just when a pack of werewolves descend upon Sawtooth, murdering all the men, leaving blood in their wake. The Alpha werewolf is revealed as Roksana’s father as a desperate fight for survival pits the girls of the brothel against the most fearsome creatures of the night.
The Red Raven Inn is the watering hole, brothel and tiny oasis of comfort in a bleak, secluded town marked by violence and corruption. The Madam of the Red Raven was born Constance Alma Braxton, the eldest daughter of a privileged family, before a fateful series of events made her a fugitive. Constance survives by being just as shrewd as the men in her world, while working with her girls to make this snake-pit feel like a community.
At the height of the confederacy, Constance was a rising social climber, under pressure to avoid being the only unwed daughter of her family. A descendant of the First Families of Virginia, her charm and wit lifted her into the social circles of the confederate elite, and she began a passionate affair with the married war secretary John Breckenridge. This ill-fated romantic tragedy ended in a firestorm of jealousy, and in a spiteful moment, Constance committed an act of treason she would regret for the rest of her life. Some even say the information she leaked to union spies put the final nail in the confederate army’s coffin, and cost the south the Civil War.
A large bounty was placed on Constance’s head, and she’s been a fugitive ever since – fleeing farther and farther from the world she knew. Constance eventually found refuge in Sawtooth, a sequestered Yukon town populated by the deadly and the desperate.
For fifteen years, Roksana’s only world has been an insular, cryptic social microcosm governed by her father. Her only education was the stories her father told of the old gods. Her only playmates were random creatures in the forested area surrounding their home. Her mother was her only source of real emotional contact, – and even in her mother’s eyes Roksana saw a brave effort to hide deep fears. Roksana was always aware of that low, droning fear. She always knew that something bad was on its way.
When she came of age, Roksana’s father announced that she must take her place in the pack, performing duties in accordance with the old ways. Roksana didn’t understand the concept of these duties. She didn’t understand her new bleeding, or why her mother was more afraid now than ever before. One night, as the men were on the hunt, Nadya burst into her daughter’s room. “It is time for us to go far away from here…”
The following three years were spent traveling across the world by any means available. This was an education for Roksana. An education of how men of the world treat women who have nothing. An education of what a mother has to do to keep her daughter safe. An education of her father’s true nature, and the lengths to which he will go to bring them back.
But recently, a man arrived in Sawtooth who is neither simple nor predictable. Constance can read the eyes of the newcomer, who calls himself Carter. He does not want to be found. Perhaps he’s simply hiding from himself. He walks and drinks like he may have to fight for his life at any given moment. He has the eyes of a man who has stared down death too often.
No detail escapes Carter’s eye – including Constance herself. She pretends not to notice the way he studies her. He’s never taken any of her ladies up on their offers, but has always been polite in his refusals. He never drinks more than he can handle, never gambles, and never smiles. Carter is a silent, tortured enigma.
One evening, Constance made an example of the woman-beater Baldo Brody, but she didn’t notice Brody stalking her as she walked home. Brody knew of the confederate bounty on her head, and now he has sufficient motivation to break the Sawtooth neutrality rule by killing her and cashing in. He would certainly have done so, had Carter not jumped out from the shadows to engage him. Brody’s gun came out, but Carter’s came out faster. He killed Brody on the spot. It was the first time that Constance and Carter were this close to each other. There was a feeling, one she quickly suppressed. “I can handle myself,” she said with the straightest face. Carter simply tipped his hat. “I reckon you can ma’am. And you did.” He handed her his gun and walked away. Those were Carter’s first words to Constance.
In the weeks to come, Constance would discover Carter’s real name: WYATT EARP. But by the time she learned his identity, she had bigger problems to deal with – like a werewolf invasion.
James Van Patten was a veteran of the Mexican-American war and titan of America’s railroad industry.
His death left his son, John Van Patten, in control of one of the biggest railroad corporations in the country. John’s social darwinist worldview places people like him (wealthy, educated, cultured) at the top of humanity’s food chain. John fancies himself the ‘Apex Predator’ and uses that position to act out unorthodox power fantasies of all kinds – including the pursuit of innocent underage girls. His subjects go to great lengths to satisfy John’s pedophilia while keeping his sociopathic appetites out of the newspapers.
When John received a letter meant for his late father, he was intrigued. A massive undiscovered silver mining town in the Yukon, with an existing infrastructure, mysteriously abandoned and unclaimed? Too good to be true. If he controlled the rails going to this area of the northwest, he could double his fortune, controlling the mining as well as the transport.
Under the guise of his father, John set out to meet the mysterious Mr. Sims, and investigate this dormant silver boomtown for himself. On the westward train, John’s dark appetite was stirred by a glance of a young grey-eyed girl being hustled through the train by her mother. The image of this girl unsettled John in ways he couldn’t explain – and the subsequent massacre on in his car (of which he was the only survivor) left him with a gut feeling – that the captivating grey-eyed girl was a harbinger of powerful events to come…
The old ways are sacred. The old ways were passed down from the first Alpha. From the days of Fenris. And they shall remain sacred until the coming of Ragnarok. The wolf is the beginning and the wolf is the end. Those touched by the wolf must remain true and pure. They must live by the hunt. They must follow the strong. They must bear fruit in season.
He has seen many seasons come and go. The world is changing, and the pack has dwindled. But he honors the old ways, and he found a woman who, although not of the wolf, can bear children of the wolf. He courted Nadya, and finally she gave birth to a girl – Roksana, meaning ‘Bright Dawn’. Fenris smiles upon this, and soon the girl will become fertile herself. Through the girl, his pack will produce many more wolves, and again, they will flourish, and return this land to the old ways.
The Alpha is the messenger of the divine. He is the leader of the hunt, the protector of the pack, and the seed of the future. His word is law, and his strength is unmatched. To defy the Alpha is to wish death upon yourself. To defy the Alpha is to defy the gods.
Roksana’s mother has defied the Alpha, and paid the price. Now Roksana hides among the men of the mining town. The Alpha has cleansed this area of men before, and he will do so again.