The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall) by Adrian Tchaikovsky
|The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall) by Adrian Tchaikovsky|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A gripping fantasy tale involving the search for identity and survival in a world of humans tied to animal totems, be they good, bad or totally treacherous. An intriguing world interspersed with seat-edging action befitting one of Britain's best fantasy authors.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 608||Date: February 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Maniye is a girl torn between her mother's tribe, the tiger people and her father's wolves. She has always known her father and wolf chieftain killed her mother as soon as Maniye was born but she has only just discovered his purpose for Maniye's life. There is only one alternative for her: to run away, taking Hesprec the snake and proposed wolf blood sacrifice. Although what she hasn't reckoned on is just how much she has to learn, her father's determination and the dogged perseverance of Broken Axe, lone wolf and hired killer. She also seems to be running towards a world on the verge of a horrific war as Maniye places herself between a rock and a very hard place indeed.
British bestselling fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky has a degree in zoology; an interesting but irrelevant factoid one would think? Not a bit of it – it's very relevant when considered alongside this, the first in his new Echoes of the Fall series. Here Adrian has melded humans with animals making a ripping fantasy yarn and a well-paced world, created and revealed with care.
We meet tribes that can turn, or 'step', into their totemic animals. In fact this stepping is the manifestation of one of Maniye's problems: as the daughter of a wolf and a tiger she can step either way. This choice may not seem problematical, but her father wants to use her duality for nefarious purposes. Meanwhile she isn't wholly one tribe or another. It's not a problem for us though; this and Maniye, vying with her twin souls brings us some of the novels memorable set pieces.
Hesprec, Maniye's companion and rescued snake priest, is not only someone with hidden depths, he feeds my love of the cynically sarcastic voice in fantasy novels. In human form he's a frail, grouchy old man but he's also a keeper of secrets.
In a parallel plot that gradually merges with Maniye's we encounter the terrific swash buckle and banter of Asmander (crocodile) and his right hand man Tecuman. Indeed, although packed with characters, we come away knowing each of them well, be they wolf, eagle, deer, bear, tiger or any of the other richly heritaged tribes. Even shadowy figures like the fearsome hit man... hit wolf… Broken Axe takes on flesh and some jaw dropping back stories before we reach the end.
The world through which we wander is slightly reminiscent of Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear considering it's relics, history, customs and simmering conflicts. It's only slightly reminiscent though as Adrian adds originality and twists taking the interest level up a few notches.
Thinking about it, the book would work well even without the animal transformations. However these add a clever touch as each tribe's totem also acts as shorthand once they take on their soul's form. For instance when a hyena fights a tiger, we've seen enough natural history programmes so that Adrian's exciting action scenes are embellished by our minds' eyes.
I finish with a plea: the book is the size of a house brick but please don’t let this put you off. Its length is fully justifiable as Adrian packs a lot in, providing the depth and background we fans love. Nothing is predictable, making it feel a lot shorter than it actually is and making us feel as though we've been on as great a journey as Maniye; one I at least would gladly repeat while waiting for Book 2.
(Thank you to the good people at Macmillan for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If you'd like more of Adrian, try Guns of the Dawn. If you're already a fan and like a well packed world with an epic storyline, we just as heartily recommend The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty) by Ken Liu.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall) by Adrian Tchaikovsky at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall) by Adrian Tchaikovsky at Amazon.com.
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