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...
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
"Wolf Brother" has an equally
distinct presentation. There's a
UK cover design by John Fordham,
in earthy orange hues, with prehistoric
markings, embossing and
embellishment. Inside the chapter
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
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...
Hardback edition... UK Paperback
official fans site...
of Ancient Darkness
The official promo site....
The illustrator's web site.
He has prints for sale too!....
The publisher's web site...
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