Reviews of Dreaming of Wolves

From the most thorough review:

... This is indeed [a] book written by an incredible observer of character and landscape, a sensitive listener and ultimately a passionate conservationist… Buy it, read it carefully. It's a book I will not be letting anyone borrow. It has a heart and a very powerful one…"

– Wolf Print Magazine    Read the complete review

"... provide[s] rare insight into the behavior of wolves, as well as a close-up look at life in the backcountry and small towns of the Carpathian Mountains. The author's experiences tracking wolves, combined with the people he meets and his descriptions of the locale, make for a compelling and invigorating story. Sparks writes well, even eloquently at times... A thoroughly enjoyable read for animal lovers and explorers alike."

– Kirkus Reviews    Read the complete review

From the back cover:

"Life flashes past many eyes: resident, tourist, voyageur, even those of wolves. Dreaming of Wolves provides introspection through the eyes of a wolf. Alan's journey explores an inward look at mid-life crises, personal feeling, community economics, ethnic survival, cultural bias, and national politics while trying to [understand the life] of a pack of Romanian wolves. To know life, his life, the author travels to a remote, foreign setting seeking knowledge about wolves, and learns about himself. Yes, it is a travelogue, a personal adventure, but it is also a narrative explaining wolf ecology and behavior versus rural cultural integrity and history. Read it to understand wolves and to understand people at the delicate interface were a few wolves exist almost secretively next to rural people still attached to their lands and agricultural practices. I recommend Alan's work not only as a natural history reference but for showing that we can exist with wild animals even as planet earth approaches an overflowing human population."

– Dr. James C. Halfpenny, President, A Naturalist's World and author of Yellowstone Wolves in the Wild; Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America; Winter: An Ecological Handbook; and several more titles.

" 'Want to hear about my trip and see my photos?' Anyone who has ever been held hostage by a long-winded friend with 500 pictures snapped from a car window knows the momentary panic of having to make a choice between politely declining and caving in with a reluctant assent.

But Alan Sparks is no amateur storyteller, and the first page of the book guarantees the reader will never be bored. Sparks knows how to spin 'true-life' adventures that invite readers to share his experiences. As for photos, the collection of color pictures that enhances the timeless narrative is beautiful and vivid.

This book is many things, all of them wonderful. It's an armchair traveler's delight, a lively, honest and often hilarious memoir, an odyssey of the spirit, a reflection about time and consciousness, and a treasure trove of meticulously-researched wolf information. Recounted in first-person, often in the present tense, Sparks shares his experiences in the mountain forests of Romania with a page-turning narrative that sweeps the reader along as companion and fellow traveler. The 'listener' goes with Sparks for the ride. And what a ride it is!

This is a story brimming with humor (Sparks has that rare capacity for poking fun at himself), introspection, pathos, keen observation and solid information. Thus, for lovers of wildlife and wild places, the book is a delightful discovery. And for people interested in wolves, it's a must."

– Cornelia Hutt, Board of Directors, International Wolf Center; Chair, Red Wolf Coalition.
As reviewed on

"Sparks travels to the land of Dracula to bring us a book that is part adventure story, part memoir and part meditation on nature and culture. He provides a wealth of tales, both factual and mythical, and facts about the wolves of Transylvania (in Romania). The author's own adventures take center stage as he moves through rural villages and the wilds where wolf researchers prowl. Dozens of gorgeous color photographs help bring the land to life and Sparks doesn't shy away from advocating for conservation of both culture and wilderness. 'Lots of people, lots of wilderness, lots of wildlife. While many Romanians aspire to live the American lifestyle, as I watch the townsfolk -- very few of them obese -- bustling about the streets of Zarnesti, walking to the magazines [shops], the schools, the churches, to the post office or bus stop or to visit their neighbors, I wonder which is the wiser and more sustainable way of life.'"

Boulder Daily Camera

"The howl of a wolf breaks the mountain stillness and sends chills down his spine. Thus begins the adventure of Alan Sparks and his human 'pack', tracking and relating to the wild wolves of Eastern Europe. Woven into this great tale of adventure are the personal stories, sights, sounds and insights of a multi-layered experience which proved to be much deeper than Alan had ever imagined. The legacy of the wolf and the honoring of nature and life itself has been enriched by the author's compassionate and thought-provoking story, and we are all privileged to share in the journey."

– Philip Rubinov-Jacobson, artist, educator, traveler, and writer. Author of Drinking Lightning: Art, Creativity, and Transformation

"An entertaining and truly inspirational story describing one's decision to leave corporate America behind and pursue new dreams and goals. Alan Sparks teaches us to not settle for the status quo and to live life as an adventure!"

– Don Strankowski, nationally recognized motivational speaker and President of Ascend Career and Life Strategies, and author of Get Hired! 10 Simple Steps for Winning the Job You Desire in Any Economy

"As purposeful as a wolf's gait through a Draconian night, the literary potency of this book strikes direct registry into our human cellular connection with the way of wolves. Over 200 thoroughly researched pages offer a humbling, humorous, and fascinating penetration into a rare Transylvanian world exquisitely unveiled through intricately woven themes of wolves, humans, and the dance of consciousness which unites all beings..."

– Steve Ilg, author of Total Body Transformation and founder of