Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver

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Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: First in the fabulous Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, reissued here for its tenth anniversary. No child should miss these stories - no adult, either!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2014
Publisher: Orion
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444015419

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Living six thousand years ago, after the Ice Age but before the spread of agriculture, Torak and his people understand the natural world. They revere the animals they hunt and never waste an ounce of prey. A deer provides them not only with food, but also with clothes, water carriers, shoes, rope, even needles. Torak and his people also understand spirituality. They see the sacred in the seasons and the cycle of the moon. And they believe in demons.

And a demon in the form of a bear has killed Torak's father. Before Fa dies, he makes Torak swear an oath: he will journey to the mountain of the World Spirit and save the people of the forest from this creature of destruction. Isolated from the clans since he was born, Torak doesn't know the truth behind the many secrets his father kept from him. So this will be a journey of discovery, too. Torak has a destiny. But first he must find his animal guide...

Oh my giddy aunt! It's been ten years since this first volume in Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series was first released. I can hardly believe it! I can hardly believe that we've reviewed three of the book here at Bookbag but not the first, most important, one. So thank you, Orion, for sending us this anniversary copy. I was more than happy to read Wolf Brother again. In fact, once I had, I had to go and re-read all the others, too. I think this series is one of the best children's series ever. Truly, I do. Here's why:

- these are proper children's stories. No crossover nonsense. No double editions so books can be sold on both adult and children's shelves. Proper. Stories. For. Children. Hands off, grown-ups! Actually, grown-ups are welcome. The sensible ones who understand that children's stories can be as powerful as adult stories. And they don't need any jazzing up to achieve that.

- the research is phenomenal. And Paver shares it with her readers: in author's notes inside the books; on her website; on YouTube videos. She's researched ancient history and archaeology. She's researched exisiting and recent hunter gatherer societies. She's researched wolves. She's gone on expeditions. And if she doesn't inspire her readers to go off on their own voyages of discovery, I can't imagine anyone who would.

- the writing is flawless. It's lyrical and poetic but it's also accessible. The plot never drags but somehow, there's enough description to make the natural world of six thousand years ago rise vividly from the pages. You can smell Torak's camp fire. You can run through the forest with Wolf. You can understand the lives ancient peoples led but you never lose interest in the events.

- Wolf. Torak. Renn. Unforgettable characters that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And Wolf is unmistakeably a wolf; not a human dressed up in animal skin. Animal characters are tricky to pull off but Paver doesn't seem to find it tricky at all. Wolf rocks precisely because he is a wolf. I love Wolf!

So, if you haven't read the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, start now. It doesn't matter how old you are. Just get to it!

Happy 10th anniversary, Tork, Renn and Wolf!

For more wonderful stories that draw connections between human protagonists and the natural word - but this time contemporary - try Sky Hawk and White Dolphin, both by Gill Lewis.

Buy Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver at Amazon.com.


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