Alpha's Tale



Book Number




Word Count



Gillian Philip[3]

Date Released

eBook: April 29th, 2014[4]

Succeeded by

The Empty City

Additional Information

Alpha's Tale

Alpha's Tale is an e-book featuring Alpha.[5] Alpha is the character on the front cover.[6] It is one of three novellas combined in one paperback, Tales from the Packs.

The Blurb

A sixty-page novella set in the world of the bestselling Survivors series by Erin Hunter! Since the first action-packed Survivors novel, readers have been clamoring for more of the dogs and the world they love. In this original prequel, readers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the story of Alpha, the fierce half-wolf who leads the Wild Pack.
Long before the Big Growl struck, Alpha was born the only half-dog in a pack of wolves. The other wolves made him suffer for it—until he swore he would never be the runt of a Pack again. . . .
Survivors: Alpha's Tale also includes a teaser chapter to Survivors #5: The Endless Lake. [7]

Detailed Plot Summary

Alpha's Tale begins as Pup on the day before his naming ceremony. He is practicing hunting, imagining he is hunting a deer, or even possibly a giantfur. He notices it is a weasel he is hunting, but he doesn't care. He soon catches the animal, and brings it to his mother-wolf, Graceful. She is proud of such a good hunter he is, and is amused. Although she is happy, she remembers Pup's sire-dog and is sad he won't be there to see it. His late brothers and sisters had died, and he was the strongest of them all.
As Pup entered the camp, nobody notices him, but to Pup, this was normal. Pup overheard two of the older dogs talking about how nice of a night it would be for the howl. Bold yawned that it would be a pity, in a way. They knew that Strident and Daring got their names on a bad night, and that it didn't matter anyway, because Pup would obviously be Omega. Pup knew what the pack thought of him, because his father was a dog.
Suddenly, Pup runs into a gang of wolves. Daring snaps at Pup to watch out. Pup wants to defend himself, but he knew that he can't because he lacks his Name. Before the Packmates' skirmish gets out of hand, the Beta interrupts them. He sends Daring and Strident off to perform trivial errands, but before Pup can leave, he requests him to stay. He affirms firmly that Pup may be beaten in any challenge after he receives his proper Name.
Pup dips his head to hide his anger at the thought of even his Beta thinking him as lowly as an Omega. With veins running cold, he swears to show all these wolves that his blood is as fierce and wild as theirs, to win respect for himself and his Mother-Wolf.
While Pup is inside his den, Quick visits him. Quick, being Pup's half-brother and only sibling to visit Graceful and him, is viewed as a friend to Pup. He's excited about his Naming Ceremony, thinking of the possible names he would receive. Pup begins to think about the Great Howl and memories with his Pack-- however, doubt begins to ebb at his mind on whether he would ever be a true wolf while he howls slightly off pitch as compared to the pure voices of his fellow wolves.
He prays to the Great Wolf to make him a true wolf before joining his Pack in the Great Howl. Pup finds himself jealous of the other wolves, feeling out of place. However, he crushes it quickly to walk forward towards Alpha, beginning his Naming Ceremony. As he waits for the wolves to begin suggesting names, he's horrified to find that no wolf is speaking up for him.
His mother, Graceful, nudges his brother Quick to speak up and name him, for she cannot name Pup herself being his Mother-Wolf. Quick draws in breath to proclaim him "Dog" after a silence ensures. The wolves all around bark and laugh, embarrassing the newly named Dog for such a perfect name.
The wolves all agree to name him Dog, and the Alpha proclaims it permanent. Dog confronts his brother angrily, challenging him. Quick says it's just a name, and that he's not even his brother anyways given Dog's mixed heritage. His half-brother snorts and leaves him to join the other young wolves.
Dog swears to show the Wolf Pack what a dog could be. Moons later, Dog is in charge of his own hunting group and is out with Daring, Noble, and Strident. He gives the command to take down the deer, only to find Daring and Strident go off without his command. They end up catching less than they could have, and Dog is steamed.
He confronts them and barks a challenge, only to find they jeer and laugh at him, saying it is their word against his and that they couldn't accept a challenge that wasn't "issued." The two wolves tell him to bring back the prey himself, since he's a dog and dogs fetch.
Noble tries to comfort Dog, but he snaps at her anyway. Later on, Dog snaps at his Mother-Wolf for taking on a dog as a mate and cursing him with his life. He tears up a branch in his fit of rage.
Later in the season of Summer, the Wolf Pack sends out hunters to search for other prey since their local prey is being hunted by longpaw hunters. Quick, Wise, Strident and Dog are all on the patrol. Quick leads them to a ranch, where he assures them that it's easy pickings and the only dog there to protect the sheep is old and weak.
While they hunt the sheep, Dog questions Quick and asks him if he smells something wolf-like like he does. Quick tells him to stop and proceeds to jump a lumbering sheep without care for caution or stealth.
Suddenly, Fierce Dogs, known as Longpaw Fangs, swarm to attack the Wolf Pack and defend the sheep in cold disciplined attacks that destroy the Wolf Pack's any attempts of recovery and defense. In the Wolf Pack retreat, Dog discovers Quick has not escaped like the others and is being mauled to death by the furious Fierce Dogs.
He plunges into the fray, distracting the Fierce Dogs in order to save his brother. However his brother escapes, and he ends up captured by the overwhelming Fierce Dog force. Amazingly, his mixed dog heritage confuses the Fierce Dogs' training to kill wolves and the Rancher takes in Dog to train him as another part of his Fierce Dog Pack.
At first, Dog is resistant, meeting Calamity when he first wakes up tethered by a collar. He refuses to give his name, which turns into Calamity dubbing him a new name: Wolf. Wolf begins his introduction to Sundance, Zorro, and Belle as he begins his training with the Rancher.
Overtime, Wolf begins to learn the tricks and commands the Rancher trained him in. He learns the satisfaction of completing a command and understanding the longpaw's language. Eventually, Wolf is off his collar and welcomed into the Fierce Dog Pack as a trusted member. His first job is to do nightly patrols and guard the ranch from hungry intruders.
However, on one particular night, he goofs off with Calamity and the two dogs play together. At this point, Wolf and Calamity become mates. They let their guard down, resulting in a stolen hen by a starving coyote. Wolf pursues the coyote, but hesitates in taking the coyote down when he sees the lonely scrap of fur and realizes it could have been him as an exiled outcast if the Fierce Dogs hadn't taken him in.
His hesitation costs him a killed hen, while the other Fierce Dogs dive in to eliminate the coyote. Sundance, the Alpha, is frustrated with Calamity and Wolf's failed mission. As punishment, the two dogs receive painful scars on their paws.
That night, Wolf feels the wild part of his heritage urging him to flee the ranch and return to the wild. He talks to Calamity about it, urging her to come with him. She confesses to him that she wants him to leave the ranch while he can, however she cannot leave with him: Calamity is bound to her pack's loyalty and it's the only world she's ever known.
The two former mates part words under the condition that Calamity creates a diversion that allows him to escape. Their plan works, and Wolf manages to escape the ranch, fleeing into the wilderness.
Later on, Wolf is wandering in the forest, wondering what his next motives are. He hears a bear nearby and a pup crying for help. He runs to rescue the small pup, who later turns out to be Fiery. The pup and half-wolf grow as a team, and as Wolf takes Snail into his care, he wonders to the Great Wolf what he's gotten himself into.
When Snail inquires about Wolf's name, he is torn between two names: Dog or Wolf? Neither name seemed to be a part of him anyways as they were in the past. He tells Snail his name is Alpha.


  • Gillian Philip has revealed that there will be other e-books in the Survivors series.[8]
    • It has later been confirmed that the next e-book would be Sweet's Journey.

Publication History

  • Alpha's Tale (EN), HarperCollins (e-Book), 29 April 2014[9]
  • Tales from the Packs (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 5 May 2015[10]



References and Citations

  1. Revealed on HarperCollins Catalog
  2. Revealed using a word count calculator on the PDF version.
  3. Revealed in Alpha's Tale, page 3
  4. Revealed on HarperCollins Catalog
  5. Revealed on HarperCollins Catalog
  6. The character on the front cover of Alpha's Tale is the same as the character on the front cover of A Hidden Enemy.
  7. Summary from HarperCollins Catalog
  8. Revealed on Gillian's Facebook
  9. Revealed on HarperCollins Catalog
  10. Revealed on HarperCollins Catalog

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