The story begins with Clayton, a young human child, wandering a forest while his parents (probably drunk) sit around a campfire with his friends. His siblings should be watching him, but as long as he comes back when called they are much happier having him wander around. Clayton is looking for a werewolf he spotted earlier that summer. Clay's siblings often told stories of such things, hoping to scare him, but secretely Clay envied them; the monsters feared nothing...they were feared. Clay finds the old werewolf in human form and apparently convinces him to turn Clay. The man returns in wolf form, and apparently curious as to how Clay will react bites him. To the werewolf's shock, Clay seems content. With his fun over, the werewolf lunges, trying to rid himself of the inconvenient child. Out of luck, Clay trips and evades the lunge...then takes off running. Out of more luck, humans spot a wolf chasing the child and the werewolf retreats. Clay runs into the forest and never returns home.
The next portion of the novel tells Clay's adjustment to life as a werewolf...and shows his humanity slipping from him. Clay loses the ability to understand human language, and doesn't really care. One day, by chance, Clay is spotted by another werewolf (Malcolm Danvers) who follows Clay to his den and attacks him, but leaves him alive. Some time later, Jeremy Danvers finds Clay. Through patience, and with the help of Clay's love for food, Jeremy eventually earns Clay's trust. After much time and domestication, Jeremy and Clay have built a strong relationship...with Clayton practically viewing Jeremy as a god. Jeremy decides to take Clay back to Stonehaven.
Here, Clay meets Antonio, whome he comes to like. (Through their mutual love of food.) Next, Clay meets Malcolm again..whome he is not fond of. He is even less fond of him after learning he gives Jeremy a lot of trouble. A rivavlry is born.