Wolf Brother

by Michelle Paver

Michelle Paver's Wolf Brother
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1

Book review by Rosalyne Bowmile

Ages 8+

Living in the Wild

Could you imagine living without your cell phone, computer, or iPod? Would you be able to survive off the land without the convenience of a car, shopping mall, or grocery store? These are amenities we all take for granted.

Thousands of years ago, people survived using their wit and ingenuity. They lived off the land using nature’s gifts to feed, clothe and heal.

Wolf Brother takes place six thousand years ago, deep within the forests of Northwest Europe.

Book review - Wolf Brother

People lived communally together in groups designated by clans, all of which had names that belonged to nature. As within any society, there was a hierarchy of order, starting with Mage and Chief of the clan. Each member of the tribe had a responsibility, be it hunting, cooking, or making clothing. Clansmen believed in the power of spirit, which affected all decisions in both their daily life and passing into death.

Torak (of the Wolf Clan) sits by his father and marks his body in preparation for death. Once done, he sits back and watches his father struggle to take his last breaths. Only minutes earlier, both were laughing and preparing for the day ahead. Out of nowhere, a bear thundered through the forest and attacked with such viciousness, only wounding Torak but maiming his father.

At only twelve, Torak like his father is an outcast. He still has much to learn, lessons his father promised to teach him. In labored breath, his father warns him of the evil that resides in the bear, whose sole purpose is to kill. With each hunt, the bear gets stronger, and will soon be invincible. Torak must now carry out his father’s final wish, a challenge far exceeding his expertise. He is to make his way to the mountain of the world spirit. Only here can he rid the forest of the evil that is lurking in its shadows.

Completely alone, Torak begins his journey and comes across a lone wolf cub. He and Wolf form an inseparable bond, one in which they can communicate. Together they embark on the journey, Wolf as his guide.

Several days into the trip, Torak forgets the most important rule his father taught; always be aware of his surroundings, including what's behind him. His carelessness leads to his capture. Now a prisoner of the Raven Clan, he learns the truth of his past, and his future destiny.

Wolf Brother transported me back into a time six thousand years ago. I found myself on an adventure of a lifetime swept up on a wild ride. I ran alongside Torak and Wolf through the wilderness, clung to the sides of ice glaciers and gasped for breath as Torak surfaced from the frigid cold water.

Wolf Brother brought back many fond memories of summers past. I’ve spent many weeks in Northern Ontario tucked away in the wilderness. One of my fondest memories was paddling through a shallow river and coming face to face with a moose. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

Michelle Paver did extensive research prior to writing Wolf Brother. She spent time living in the forests of Northeastern Finland, dined on the local cuisine of reindeer meat and berries, even ventured to look inside a bear’s mouth. Her experiences gave her a firsthand look of life dating back thousands of years. Aside from her extensive research, Michelle Paver has shared with the reader her passion for animals and anthropology.

Wolf Brother is an exciting read, with an explosive ending that left me wanting more. I am happy to mention that Wolf Brother is the first in the series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Other books in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series:

  • Spirit Walker
  • Soul Eater
  • Outcast
  • Oath Breaker
  • Ghost Hunter
Wolf Brother, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Read more of Rosalyne's reviews.

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