Wolf Brother

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First book/Spirit Walker.

Wolf Brother is the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness book series, by Michelle Paver.

Publisher's Summary

Torak is alone ... wounded, terrified, and on the run. An outcast like his father, he has avoided all contact with the clans. But now his father lies dead: slaughtered by a demon in the form of a great bear. Somehow, Torak must keep going. His only ally is an orphaned wolf cub ...

WOLF BROTHER carries you back thousands of years to the ancient darkness of the Forest: to a world steeped in natural magic and elemental terror, a world in which trusting your friend means risking your life. WOLF BROTHER is the first book in the CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS.


The book is set in Europe thousands of year ago, before the invention of farming but after the Ice Ages. The people live in large Clans, each one with a leader, a mage, hunters and other men, women and children.

Plot Summary

WARNING: Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot, storyline, character, etc., details.

A young boy named Torak and his father lived alone in the Forest, seperated fro the Clans. However, when Torak was 12 summers old he and his father were attcaked by a demon in the form of a bear. Both were wounded, but his father died from his injuries. Before his death, Torak's father told him to find the mountain of the World Spirit. When Torak asked how to find the mountain, his father replied "your guide will find you". Torak swore an oath to find the mountain or die trying and then ran north.

As Torak ran he came across a wolf cub lying cold and wet outside its den. The river below has flooded, killing its pack. Torak, desperate for food, was going to kill the wolf cub but didn't, which at the time annoyed him. He also discovered he could speak Wolf Talk, but did not know how. Later, Torak and the wolf set off to find the mountain and to defeat the bear. Somehow, the wolf seemed to know the way. Torak realised the wolf must be the guide his father had told him of.

Unfortunately, three people, Oslak, Renn and Hord, from the Raven Clan captured Torak and wolf because he stole 'their' roe buck. Torak was taken before their caln leader, an man named Fin-Kedinn. In the Raven camp Torak fought Hord in a combat to prove that he was innocent. He won by blinding Hord with steam from a stew. Then Torak is told by Fin-Kedinn and the clan mage Saeunn of a prophecy. It says:

A Shadow attacks the forest. None can stand against it. Then comes The Listener. He fights with air and speaks with silence. The Listener gives his heart's blood to the mountain and the Shadow is crushed.

The ravens believe that Torak is The Listener in the prophecy, but Torak disagrees. Later, Saeunn and Fin-Kedinn explain to Torak that when he was young, he was put in a Wolf Den (as his mother had died and Torak's Fa couyldn't look after him). Torak also learns his father was the Wolf Mage.

Later on, Torak runs away from the Ravens with Wolf as he believes they are going to sacrifice him. Renn finds Torak but helps him instead of taking him back. Renn explains taht to persuade the World Spirit to destroy the bear, they must find The Nanuak. The Ravens have a riddle of what they are:

Deepest of all, the drowned sight.

Oldest of all, the stone bite.

Coldest of all, the darkest light.

When Torak falls into a river, he finds the first piece, the eyes of the Hidden People. While searching for the other two, Torak and Renn enter a valley and are discovered by a man named The Walker and his pet mouse Narik. The Walker claims the two are tresspassing and throws Renn's quiver in a stream. Eventually, The Walker allows the two too leave the valley up one of the sides and tells them the location of the second piece of The Nanuak. Torak and Renn find the second piece, a stone tooth hidden in a cave containing a door to The Otherworld. After Torak took The Nanuak, the bear attacked Renn and Wolf attarcted by The Nanuak. Wolf took The Nanuak and drew the bear away. When Torak came out of the cave, Wolf was gone and Renn was injured.

A few days later, Renn and Torak set of to find Wolf. They find him on the fells with a reindeer herd. The three reunited friends head towards the Ice River, although Renn disagrees. The journey is very dangerous as they face falling ice cliffs, deep crevasses and snowstorms. During a snowstorm, Torak and Renn get seperated. Torak hides in an ice cave, where he finds the corpse of a Red Deer man. In his hands he holds a lantern, which is the third piece of The Nanuak. Meanwhile, Renn digs her own ice cave and goes to sleep. Torak and Wolf find her and wake her up. Eventually, Torak, Renn and Wolf get off the Ice River and on to the fells, where they are captureed by Hord and Oslak. The group go to the new Raven Camp, where there is a big discussion over how to defeat the bear. Some think that Torak should go alone, while Hord thinks they should sacrifice Torak and take his 'heart's blood' to the mountain. The clan decidesz to send Torak alone. On the mountain, Torak is attacked by the bear and Hord, who still thinks he should be the one to destroy the bear. The World Spirit then sends an avalanche which kills the bear and Hord. Torak did however sacrifice his heart's blood (the thing he loved the most) as Wolf leaves and joins a different pack. After this Torak returns to the Raven Camp. Torak is very upset that Wolf gone.

Spoilers end here.

Critical Acclaim

'The kind of story you dream of reading and all to rarely find ... The descriptions of an ancient world are wonderful. The vivid prose leaps of the page.' The Times.

'Like other great children's books that also entrance adults, Wolf Brother conjures up an utterly believable yet original world.' Ian McKellen.

'An enchanting story.' Mail on Sunday.

'A rattling read.' Guardian.

'Deeply atmospheric first instalment ... breath-takingly expansive, classically formed adventure story.' The Bookseller.

'Michelle Paver ... writes in a clear, engaging style ... The relationships are persuasively described.' Sunday Times.

'The opening of the novel is gripping in every sense ... There is plenty of page turning drama in the story ... taut and ever-compelling.' Books for Keeps.

'Epic adventure.' Publishing News.

Film Adaptation

A film version of Wolf Brother is due for release in 2009. It will be produced by 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott will direct it..

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