Romochka, a four year old boy is abandoned by his mother and uncle. When he leaves his apartment and begins to randomly wander the streets of Moscow, he follows a pack of dogs to an area of deserted warehouses and is "adopted" by them. For the next two ferocious Russian winters, Romochka lives with the dogs, becomes a member of the pack, and eventually becomes their leader due to his combination of animal and human characteristics. As he grows and spends more time foraging in the city, mingling with other humans, he begins to feel unsettled. He loves his clan, shares their instincts, but he has questions about his human side and certain humans are beginning to notice him.
This is a unique and amazing book. Hornung tells the story as if she's spent time living with a pack of dogs, it's that realistic. The setting is the city of Moscow, Russia and it's hard to envision a major world city where thousands of dogs roam the city and even ride on the subways and where children are abandoned and homeless, living on those same streets. Hornung explores questions about family, what it means to be human. Once started, it is almost impossible to put this book down.