“Fantasy adventure on a grand scale, with a wealth of wilderness lore and convincing characterizations.” —Booklist
Fans of Fablehaven and City of Ember will devour Michelle Paver’s bestselling fantasy series about one boy’s epic fight against evil and the wolf who guides him.
Six thousand years ago. Powerful mages stalk the land, threatening to destroy all the forest clans. According to legend, only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat them. Their journey together takes them through perilous terrain and into dangers they never imagined. Torak and Wolf are terrified of their mission. But if they do not battle to save their world, who will?
“Torak’s coming-of-age tale will keep the pages turning.” —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Michelle Paver was born in central Africa, but moved to England as a child. After earning a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University, she became a partner in a London law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full-time.
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness arises from her lifelong passions for animals, anthropology, and the distant past. It was also inspired by her travels in Norway, Lapland, Iceland, and the Carpathian Mountains—and particularly by an encounter with a large bear in a remote valley in Southern California.
Read an Excerpt
Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he'd never meant to have.
The fire had burned low. He crouched in the fragile shell of light and peered into the looming blackness of the Forest. He couldn't see anything. Couldn't hear anything. Had it come back? Was it out there now, watching him with its hot, murderous eyes?
He felt hollow and cold. He knew that he badly needed food, and that his arm hurt, and his eyes were scratchy with tiredness, but he couldn't really feel it. All night he'd guarded the wreck of the spruce bough shelter and watched his father bleed. How could this be happening?
Only yesterday -- yesterday -- they'd pitched camp in the blue autumn dusk. Torak had made a joke, and his father was laughing. Then the Forest exploded. Ravens screamed. Pines cracked. And out of the dark beneath the trees surged a deeper darkness: a huge rampaging menace in bear form.
Suddenly death was upon them. A frenzy of claws. A welter of sound to make the ears bleed. In a heartbeat, the creature had smashed their shelter to splinters. In a heartbeat, it had ripped a ragged wound in his father's side. Then it was gone, melting into the Forest as silently as mist.
But what kind of bear stalks men -- then vanishes without making the kill? What kind of bear plays with its prey?
And where was it now?
Torak couldn't see beyond the firelight, but he knew that the clearing, too, was a wreck of snapped saplings and trampled bracken. He smelled pine-blood and clawed earth. He heard the soft, sad bubbling of the stream thirty paces away. The bear could be anywhere.
Beside him, his father moaned. Slowly he opened his eyes and looked at his son without recognition.
Torak's heart clenched. "Fa, it -- it's me," he stammered. "How do you feel?"
Pain convulsed his father's lean brown face. His cheeks were tinged with gray, making the clan-tattoos stand out lividly. Sweat matted his long dark hair.
His wound was so deep that as Torak clumsily stanched it with beard-moss, he saw his father's guts glistening in the firelight. He had to grit his teeth to keep from retching. He hoped Fa didn't notice -- but of course he did. Fa was a hunter. He noticed everything.
"Torak..." he breathed. His hand reached out, his hot fingers clinging to Torak's as eagerly as a child. Torak swallowed. Sons clutch their fathers' hands, not the other way around.
He tried to be practical: to be a man instead of a boy. "I've still got some yarrow leaves," he said, fumbling for his medicine pouch with his free hand. "Maybe that'll stop the--"
"Keep it. You're bleeding too."
"Doesn't hurt," lied Torak. The bear had thrown him against a birch tree, bruising his ribs and gashing his left forearm.
"Torak -- leave. Now. Before it comes back."
Torak stared at him. He opened his mouth but no sound came.
"You must," said his father.
"No. No. I can't--"
"Torak -- I'm dying. I'll be dead by sunrise."
Torak gripped the medicine pouch. There was a roaring in his ears. "Fa--"
"Give me -- what I need for the Death Journey. Then get your things."
The Death Journey. No. No.
But his father's face was stern. "My bow," he said. "Three arrows. You -- keep the rest. Where I'm going -- hunting's easy."
There was a tear in the knee of Torak's buckskin leggings. He dug his thumbnail into the flesh. It hurt. He forced himself to concentrate on that.
"Food," gasped his father. "The dried meat. You -- take it all."
Torak's knee had started to bleed. He kept digging. He tried not to picture his father on the Death Journey. He tried not to picture himself alone in the Forest. He was only twelve summers old. He couldn't survive on his own. He didn't know how.
Blinking furiously, Torak reached for his father's weapons and laid them by his side. He divided up the arrows, pricking his fingers on the sharp flint points. Then he shouldered his quiver and bow and scrabbled in the wreckage for his small black basalt axe. His hazelwood pack had been smashed in the attack; he'd have to cram everything else into his jerkin, or tie it to his belt.
He reached for his reindeer-hide sleeping sack.
"Take mine," murmured his father. "You never did -- repair yours. And -- swap knives."
Torak was aghast. "Not your knife! You'll need it!"
"You'll need it more. And -- it'll be good to have something of yours on the Death-Journey."
"Fa, please. Don't--"
In the Forest, a twig snapped.
Torak spun round.
Just the crackle of the fire and the thud of his heart.
His father licked the sweat from his lips. "It's not here yet," he said. "Soon. It will come for me soon.... Quick. The knives."
Clenching his jaw so hard that it hurt, Torak took his own knife and put it into Fa's hand. Then he untied the buckskin sheath from his father's belt. Fa's knife was beautiful and deadly, with a blade of banded blue slate shaped like a willow leaf, and a haft of red deer antler that was bound with elk sinew for a better grip. As Torak looked down at it, the truth hit him. He was getting ready for a life without Fa. "I'm not leaving you!" he cried. "I'll fight it, I--"
"No! No one can fight this bear!"
Ravens flew up from the trees.
"Listen to me," hissed his father. "A bear -- any bear -- is the strongest hunter in the Forest. You know that. But this bear -- much stronger."
Torak felt the hairs on his arms rise. Looking down into his father's eyes, he saw the tiny scarlet veins and, at the centers, the fathomless dark. "What do you mean?" he whispered.
"It is -- possessed." His father's face was grim; he didn't seem like Fa anymore. "Some -- demon -- from the Otherworld -- has entered it and made it evil."
An ember spat. The dark trees leaned closer to listen.
"A demon?" said Torak.
His father shut his eyes, mustering his strength. "It lives only to kill," he said at last. "With each kill -- its power will grow. It will slaughter -- everything. The prey. The clans. All will die. The Forest will die..." He broke off. "In one moon -- it will be too late. The demon -- too strong."
"One moon? But what--"
"Think, Torak! When the red eye is highest in the night sky, that's when demons are strongest. You know this. That's when the bear will be -- invincible." He fought for breath. In the firelight, Torak saw the pulse beating in his throat. So faint: as if it might stop at any moment. "I need you -- to swear something," said Fa.
Fa swallowed. "Head north. Many daywalks. Find -- the Mountain -- of the World Spirit."
Torak stared at him. What?
His father's eyes opened, and he gazed into the branches overhead, as if he saw things there that no one else could. "Find it," he said again. "It's the only hope."
"But -- no one's ever found it. No one can."
"How? I don't--"
"Your guide -- will find you."
Torak was bewildered. Never before had his father talked like this. He was a practical man; a hunter. "I don't understand any of this!" he cried. "What guide? Why must I find the Mountain? Will I be safe there? Is that it? Safe from the bear?"
Slowly, Fa's gaze left the sky and came to rest on his son's face. He looked as if he was wondering how much more Torak could take. "Ah, you're too young," he said. "I thought I had more time. So much I haven't told you. Don't-don't hate me for that later."
Torak looked at him in horror. Then he leaped to his feet. "I can't do this on my own. Shouldn't I try to find--"
"No!" said his father with startling force. "All your life I've kept you apart. Even -- from our own Wolf Clan. Stay away from men! If they find out-what you can do..."
"What do you mean? I don't--"
"No time," his father cut in. "Now swear. On my knife. Swear that you will find the Mountain, or die trying."
Torak bit his lip hard. East through the trees, a gray light was growing. Not yet, he thought in panic. Please not yet.
"Swear," hissed his father.
Torak knelt and picked up the knife. It was heavy: a man's knife, too big for him. Awkwardly he touched it to the wound on his forearm. Then he put it to his shoulder, where the strip of wolf fur, his clan-creature, was sewn to his jerkin. In an unsteady voice he took his oath. "I swear, by my blood on this blade, and by each of my three souls -- that I will find the Mountain of the World Spirit. Or die trying."
His father breathed out. "Good. Good. Now. Put the Death Marks on me. Hurry. The bear -- not far off."
Torak felt the salty sting of tears. Angrily he brushed them away. "I haven't got any ochre," he mumbled.
"Take -- mine."
In a blur, Torak found the little antler-tine medicine horn that had been his mother's. In a blur, he yanked out the black oak stopper, and shook some of the red ochre into his palm.
Suddenly he stopped. "I can't."
"You can. For me."
Torak spat into his palm and made a sticky paste of the ochre, the dark-red blood of the earth, then he drew the small circles on his father's skin that would help the souls recognize each other and stay together after death.
First, as gently as he could, he removed his father's beaver-hide boots and drew a circle on each heel, to mark the name-soul. Then he drew another circle over the heart, to mark the clan-soul. This wasn't easy, as his father's chest was scarred from an old wound, so Torak managed only a lopsided oval. He hoped that would be good enough.
Last, he made the most important mark of all: a circle on the forehead to mark the Nanuak, the world-soul. By the time he'd finished, he was swallowing tears.
"Better," murmured his father. But Torak saw with a clutch of terror that the pulse in his throat was fainter.
"Fa, I'm not leaving you, I--"
"Torak. You swore an oath." Again he closed his eyes. "Now. You -- keep the medicine horn. I don't need it anymore. Take your things. Fetch me water from the river. Then -- go."
I will not cry, Torak told himself as he rolled up his father's sleeping sack and tied it across his back; jammed his axe into his belt; stuffed his medicine pouch into his jerkin.
He got to his feet and looked about for the waterskin. It was ripped to shreds. He'd have to bring water in a dock leaf. He was about to go when his father murmured his name.
Torak turned. "Yes, Fa?"
"Remember. When you're hunting, look behind you. I -- always tell you." He forced a smile. "You always -- forget. Look behind you. Yes?"
Torak nodded. He tried to smile back. Then he blundered through the wet bracken toward the stream.
The light was growing, and the air smelled fresh and sweet. Around him the trees were bleeding: oozing golden pine-blood from the slashes the bear had inflicted. Some of the tree-spirits were moaning quietly in the dawn breeze.
Torak reached the stream. Glancing quickly around, he snatched a dock leaf and moved forward, his boots sinking into the soft red mud.
Beside his right boot was the track of a bear. A front paw: twice the size of his own head, and so fresh that he could see the points where the long, vicious claws had bitten deep into the mud.
Look behind you, Torak.
He spun round.
Willows. Alder. Fir.
Dark yew. Dripping spruce. Dense. Impenetrable.
But deep within -- no more than ten paces away -- a stir of branches. Something was in there. Something huge.
Torak forced himself to stay still. Don't run. Don't run. Maybe it doesn't know you're here.
A low hiss. Again the branches stirred.
He heard the stealthy rustle as the creature moved toward the shelter: toward his father. He waited in rigid silence as it passed. Coward! he shouted inside his head. You let it go without even trying to save Fa!
But what could you do? said the small part of his mind that could still think straight. Fa knew this would happen. That's why he sent you for water. He knew it was coming for him....
"Torak!" came his father's wild cry. "Run!"
Crows burst from the trees. A roar shook the Forest -- on and on till Torak's head was splitting.
"Fa!" he screamed.
Again the Forest shook. Again came his father's cry. Then suddenly it broke off.
Through the trees, he glimpsed a great dark shadow in the wreck of the shelter.
He turned and ran.
Wolf Brother © 2005 by Michelle Paver
All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. I wasn't familiarized with the series or the author but now I'm hooked. Great story. Exciting read.
My 9 year old son LOVED Wolf Brother, Spirit Walker, Soul Eater and Outsider. He could not wait to read each book!!! Prior to these books, he refused to do independent reading. I caught him reading under his comforter after lights out. How WONDERFUL!!!!!
This book Wolf Brother is the best books ever! I read all of the books . I am still reading OUTCAST. I am like the only girl reading these books. My favorite animal is a wolf. I have had a wolf in my past life. But I still have wolves with me. They are wild wolves they attack everybody but me! Every body calls me The Wolfwoman! I can talk wolf and run like a wolf. I am 11 years old and I am writing my own story about me becoming The Wolfwoman. I am going back to the books. My favorite porsen in the books are Renn. You have to read to read these books!
OMG. I have read this book two times and it is still exciting. If anyone hasn't read it, READ IT NOW (except my sister). I have always dreamed of living out in the forest just like Torak does. Except for the demon bear and the soul eaters. I am so crazy about this book I went on wikapedia and looked it up. I HAVE GOT TO READ THE NEXT ONE NOW!!!!
This is one of those novels that won´t let you sleep until you finish it. Michelle Paver has the ability to transport you to the prehistoric ages, live the traditions, costumes, and believes. She will make you feel like Torak, a simple 12 years old boy of the Wolf Clan that only has a wolf cub. You will feel the woods walking, the fight in the Crow Clan, and the challenges you must endure and pass with Renn to collect the 3 charms you need to defeat the Terrible Bear. If you love the adventures and the nature, this book will hook you until the last page, enjoying it until the last phrase of this book, one of the best I have ever read.
This book was great! If you like action books set in a more primitive world, then this is the book for you. Torak, his wolf cub, whom he named Wolf, and a girl named Renn are out to destroy a man eating bear that killed Torack's father.
Not the best book I have read, but...It was good. It was kind of unique that Wolf called Torak 'Tall Tailess', but...If you are looking for a book to pass the time here it is. It wasn't very realistic about the bear--what does it symbolize--death? And all of the 'SUSPENSE' stuff is comepletely pointless. I got this at the bookstore, but I might not get the second one in the series. This really deserves 3.5 stars, but...who cares. This, again, was not the best book I have read.
a fantastic book about a kid how can talk to wolves his father was killed by a bear and now has to survive in the wild with a possessed bear chasing after him.This story was set in the olden days before guns were invented i recommend it to kids with a reading age of 10-11 or better
I enjoyed this book very much. Michelle Paver takes the reader into the world of Tovak ad his people with all the knowledge of the natural world, and the terror of living so close to it, that they eperience. But most of all I love this book because my 12 year old son has read it and its sequels this Summer, and can't wait for the last two. When you're an avid reader with two sons who are really lukewarm about it, that means a lot!
My Mum is a primary school teacher who, every year, tries to get the children in her class to read good quality books. Books which are well written, which have storyline, and which contain key writing elements which are taught as part of the English lessons (how to use writers¿ hooks, to describe all the senses etc.). Since I received this book for Christmas a few years ago she has read them the opening paragraph:¿Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he¿d never meant to have. The fire had burned low. He crouched in the fragile shell of light and peered into the looming blackness of the forest. He couldn¿t see anything. Couldn¿t hear anything. Had it come back? Was it out there now, watching him with its hot, murderous eyes?¿Every year, without fail, the class all press her to read the whole opening chapter. She does. When she asks the children if they want the book¿s details so that they can get a copy and read the whole thing she is nearly killed in the rush, and over the next few weeks many of the class can be found devouring this book in their spare time.The detail and historical accuracy throughout so much of the book is outstanding. I think the world she has created is wonderful, and several years¿ worth of schoolchildren agree with me. Be careful when giving this book to very young children to read though ¿ it¿s rather violent and scary in places for tiny tots.
An interesting story set in the time of ice in Europe. A boy's father is killed by a bear, a bear with supernatural strength and the father send the son to help kill it.With the help of a wolf cub and a girl from another tribe he fights tribe elders who want to kill him, the elements and overwhelming odds. An interesting story that really paints a solid picture of what it must have been like without being too patronising or too modern.
A well written book about a boy, a wolf, and the bear-demon they must defeat. Michelle Paver's research was exhaustive and her descriptions of the natural setting incredible. I read this book with my 8-year-old, and honestly I wasn't all that motivated to continue, though he seemed to be surprisingly so (even though he fell asleep many nights while I read to him), to the point that when we finished he suggested we read it over again. That said, we may have to pick up the second book in the series (perhaps after we cleanse the palette first with some Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Animorphs).
Awesome read, set thousands of years ago Adventure with fantasy elements
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this Caudill nominated book. It takes place 6000 years ago when people are mostly nomadic and live in clans. Torak and his father live away from other people. After his father is killed by a bear, who turns out to be demon possessed, Torak is on a quest to try to stop the bear. He has to journey to the Spirit Mountain and find three items to give to the great spirit that answer the ancient riddle. Torak finds an orphaned wolf cub and it turns out he has the ability to speak the language of wolves. Renn for the Raven clan also is a helpful companion on the quest. This is the first in a series. Although I won't be running out to read the rest of the series, I think this book will definitely appeal to many of the students participating in the Caudill program.
this book is about is about great darkennes.i think its easy.i like this book.
it was interesting but it sucked that the dad died and i also liked the all the fighting i will try to read the other books
I believe this book is a good read for whoever has read books such as the Harry Potter series or Gary Paulsen survival books. When I first started reading this book I found it to be a bit too childish for me to read, but I kept reading anyway and have already finished reading the first and second books. Now to get back to the topic of the actual word choice and sentence structure of the book. This book has amazing descriptions of the forest that make you feel like you are there with the characters. All in all the story line kept me reading to the end of the bindings and hope the rest of the series will too. I would hope that anyone who comes across this magnificent read is advised to read slowly to let the full effect of the words sink in. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5.
A great and fun book to read in my opinion. Engaging right the way through, very interesting and leaves the reader wanting more! The second book Spirit Walker is also just as interesting, tense, emotive and just brilliant its a great book and I would strongly recommend!
This book is a great book and will have you hooked on the series. This book is filled with cliffhangers and always wants you to read more. There is always new things happening in the book that are unexpected and makes the reader wonder what just happened. This was a all around great book and a definate read.
I really enjoyed this book. At the begginging of the book, the boys father dies, killed by this demon bear. Torak (the boy) is now running from this bear, and runs into another clan.Of corse it was hard times, and they take him hostage. He finds out it's his destiny to go and defeat the bear. I won't spoil anymore, in case you read it. It was very fast, and this would be recomended more for children, mabye young adult, as most of my books will be.
This is a pretty sad book, it got to me due to all the dead animals
Six thousand years ago in the Stone Age, a young boy named Torak and his father lived together with no one besides each other and the comfort of the Forest. But all this peace and tranquility changed when a menacing bear with a demon inside kills Torak's father and he tells Torak to swear that he'll go North and destroy the bear.All seems lost and Torak is now broken until he meets Wolf, a lonely cub who will guide Torak.As soon as the set off, they get captured by the Raven tribe, and Torak learns that he is the LIstener, the person who will destroy the bear and save everybody.This book shows what it's like to live that many years ago and what they may have believed. When I first picked this up, I didn't think I'll like it at all, but in reality, it's actually really good, and the author really did her research, because you can just imagine the horrors Torak had to go through in the huge Forest in a civilization that's now gone...
This book was an easy read. The main character is a boy however, there is a strong female protagonist also in the story lending it to both audiences. The language and font made the book easy to read. The vocabulary provided a simple challenge due to the fact that it used many terms dealing with clan life and spirit ways, which the author explains completely to the reader. The fast-paced drama of the story pulls the reader quickly through the pages. As a fan of the Clan of the Cave Bear series written by Jean Auel, I fell in love with this book and its characters. NOTE: This book is very dark in places and is suggested for mature readers.
This book is about a boy named Turok. His father is killed by a demon bear. Before his father died he made Toruk sware to find the mountain and the guide to bring him there. He is on is own and finds this lone wolf cub. The cub fallows him and becomes the guide. Later Turok finds the Raven Clan and Renn. He is taken to the camp. He finds out he is the listener that most destroy the bear, but to do this he most find the Nanuak. He escapes with Renn and Wolf. The Ravens and the bear are after him. He goes on a dangerous adventure to save the forest and the people of the forest. People that like excitment will love this book. It is good for all ages 3rd grade and up. People will find this book full of strange twists and amazing battles. This is more for people that like the old cave men times and fantisy. It is simply an amazing book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Mostly because of the archaeological research that went into it, but also because it¿s absolutely thrilling and adventurous. The setting of the story is 6000 years ago when Western Europe was still covered by forest, and the people in it were hunter-gatherers. They didn¿t have the wheel, writing, metals, or farming, yet. That¿s the archaeological part. As for how they thought, their spirituality, how they interacted with their surroundings, this the author got from the more recent lives of the San of Southern Africa, the Native American tribes, Eskimos, and the Ainu of Japan. An example is the description of what is done to prey after it¿s been killed. That no part of the animal is wasted, what¿s not eaten is used to make pouches, and string and clothing, etc, etc.Then there¿s the story of a 12 year old boy, whose father raised him , taught him the ways of a hunter and the ways of the Forest, but kept him separate from people. The story opens with his father dying, having just been mauled by a bear. Before he dies however, he manages to croak out some cryptic pieces of information, like that the bear is possessed, the boy has powers that he doesn¿t know about, he needs to make his way to a mountain that nobody has ever found, he¿ll have a guide, and that he¿s the only one who can defeat the bear (demon) before it destroys the entire forest and life as he knows it. That¿s all in the first few pages.From then on it¿s your typical coming of age story, just with an added dose of adventure, intrigue and lots of heart.