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The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
Wolf Brother          
Michelle Paver
September 2004
Orion Children's
224 pages

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 "The forest was full of eyes.
        Birch trees whispered of his passing.
        He begged them not to tell the bear..."


        The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness are set in an ancient glaciated land
        of snowbound moutains, thundering rivers and vast tracts of coniferous
        forest. In this prehistoric wilderness live the Clans, tribes of humans, each
        fiercly loyal to their own kind and customs and just as fiercly independent
        of each other.

        But Torak and his father are outcasts. They make their own way in the
        world, outside of the clan system. Or at least they did, for as our story
        begins Torak's father is attacked and slaughtered by a demon bear.
        Now the boy must struggle on alone. His only company is an orphan
        wolf cub, with whom he forms a spritual bond. With him and through
        him, boy and cub share an extraordinary adventure which thrusts them into
        path of the Clans, and leads them on the trail of the terrifying Soul Eaters.
        The Moon of Red Willow is fast approaching, and its arrival will herald
        the climatic showdown between Torak and the Bear spirit who
        consumed his father...


       The Gnome says
        And so begins an epic series of adventures...

        When "Wolf Brother" first hit stores it was accompanied by a wave of high-profile
        publicity. Great play was made over the storie's authenticity. Michelle Paver had
        spent a time living in the wilderness, experiencing forest survival first-hand. And
        she'd incorporated her experiences into her tale so spectacularly that Hollywood
        had dropped everything to compete over the film rights.

        But you know what? - For once the blurb was right. "Wolf Brother" is a cracking
        read and a vivid one too. You can touch and feel the forest with Torak and
        Wolf, you can smell the pine and taste the clear mountain water and the clans
        have stepped straight out of that majesterial landscape. Yes, one might refer to
        this as "Clan of the Cave Bear" for kids, but there's plenty of room for
        Torak and company within the genre. The pleasure's in the details, in the
        drip-dripping of the forest trails, and the palpable fear to be found as man
        takes on the animals, the elements and the elemental. Little Wonder then,
        that Ridley Scott's production company snared those movie rights soon
        after publication.

       "Wolf Brother" has an equally distinct presentation.
There's a magnificent
        UK cover design by John Fordham, in earthy orange hues, with prehistoric
        markings, embossing and embellishment. Inside the c
hapter headings
        sport beautiful, naturalistic line drawings from the pen of Geoff Taylor.

        If there's a downside it's to be found beyond this story. By the end we
        know that Torak is to be pitched against a number of similar Soul Eaters,
        and indeed, the press blurb tells us there will be six titles in the series.
        But one wonders just how far the author can take us in this landscape
        without repeating herself...?

        Still, on the basis of this first adventure
, it appears to be a journey
        worth taking...



       Collectors have three choices.

       As one might expect, there are plenty of signed editions out there.
       But 100 of these first editions were given special treatment. As well
       as the author's signature, they sport an additional b/w paw print.
       You'll be hard pushed to find these now, unless you have
       a deep wallet...
       And that's not all for fans, because Orion books produced a fabulous
       slipcase edition of the book to coincide with the release of its sequel
       "Spirit Walker". The slipcase repeats the cover design, and within
       is a Signed and Numbered Collector's Edition of the book. Only
       1000 were produced, and sure enough, there's an additional title
       page stating this, together with the author's signature, a paw print
       and an edition number. It's a very attractive book - something
       to treasure, indeed. The RRP was set at £25, but the collector's
       market is driving the price up and up...

       "Wolf Brother" - signed and numbered collectors edition


      Buy this book

   Wolf Brother                 Wolf Brother            
Hardback edition...       UK Paperback edition...   


      On the web

       The Clan

       The official fans site...

       Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

       The official promo site....

       Geoff Taylor
       The illustrator's web site. He has prints for sale too!....

       Orion Books
       The publisher's web site...

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