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"Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. According to legend, only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey togother takes them through deep forests, across giant glacers, and into dangers thet never imagined. Torak and wolf are terrifed of their mission, but if they dont battle to save their world, who will?" - Wolf Brother

Wolf Brother is the first book in the series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver. There are six books in the series. Wolf Brother is illustrated by Geoff Taylor.

Plot summary

In the pre-agricultural Europe set six thousand years ago, after the end of the last ice age, the hunter-gatherers of the Forest live in clans. Torak and his father, of Wolf Clan, live alone in the Forest in hiding. When Torak is 12 summers old, his father, Fa, is killed by a bear believed to be possessed by a demon. Before Torak's father dies, he tells Torak to swear an oath to head north and find the Mountain of the World Spirit, and ask the World Spirit to help destroy the bear before it kills all life in the Forest.

Torak heads north and soon encounters an orphaned wolf cub, whose pack was drowned in a flood from the water fall on to the town. Torak discovers that he can communicate with the cub. Wolf accepts Torak as his pack-brother, and becomes Torak's guide. Torak and Wolf are soon captured by the Raven Clan, who accuse Torak of stealing one of their roe deer. He is taken to the Raven camp, so that his fate can be decided by Fin-Kedinn, the Raven Clan leader.

In the Raven camp, Torak fights Hord, a Raven youth, to prove his innocence. He wins by temporarily blinding Hord with steam from broth. This, together with the dog whistle Torak made to summon Wolf, makes Fin-Kedinn and Saeunn, the Raven Mage, see Torak as the possible fulfilment of a prophecy about a "Listener". The prophecy states that the Listener, who talks with silence and fights with air, will offer his heart's blood to the World Spirit and thereby kill the demon-bear. One interpretation of this prophecy is that Torak must be sacrificed, and his blood taken to the Mountain of the World Spirit.

Torak escapes, helped by Renn, Hord's young sister, who believes that Torak must go to the Mountain of the World Spirit himself. Renn tells Torak the rest of the prophecy, which says he must find three parts of the "Nanuak", the brightest soul, to please the World Spirit and ensure its aid. On their journey together, guided by Wolf, Torak finds the first part of the Nanuak when he falls into a river, the second part in a cave, and the third part while crossing the treacherous Ice River close to the High Mountains. Nearly at their destination, Renn and Torak are recaptured by the Ravens, and taken to the Raven Clan's new temporary camp. Fin-Kedinn releases Torak, believing him to be the one who should go to the Mountain. Fin-Kedinn also reveals that Torak's father, who was the Wolf Clan mage, dedicated himself to thwarting a group of rogue mages, the Soul Eaters, who have together turned to evil in their determination to rule the Forest. Toraks father was one of the seven soul eaters, but he left the soul eaters once they turned evil. The Soul Eaters created the demon-bear specifically to kill Torak's father; they will therefore see Torak as their enemy, and it is Torak's may be destiny to destroy them.

Torak and Wolf climb towards the Mountain alone. The bear is drawn after them by the Nanuak. Torak is unexpectedly attacked by Hord, who believes himself to be the one who must take the Nanuak to the Mountain. Torak realizes that the prophecy's "heart's blood" means Wolf, and as Wolf carries off the Nanuak, Hord and the demon-bear are engulfed by the ensuing rock slide. Torak escapes from under the rocks and look for wolf, but he only hears his howl in the distance, along with the howls of many wolves. Torak yells to wolf (In English) that he will one day return for him. Torak then turns around, and heads back for the forest.


Wolf brother was well received by critics,

The Times says "Wolf brother is the kind of story you dream of reading, and all too rarely find."

Publishers Weekley says "Toraks coming of age story will keep the pages turning."

"Like other great children's books which also entrance adults, Wolf Brother conjures up an utterly believable yet original world."—Ian McKellan


Michelle Paver did a lot of research on how the people of Torak's world lived. To research how the people of Torak's world would have lived and thought, Michelle looked at the lives of more recent hunter-gatherers, including some of the Native American tribes, the Inuit (Eskimo), the San of southern Africa, and the Ainu of Japan. She studied the ancient Misolithic Archeolog, and did a lot of book research. She slept in a sleeping back of reindeer skin, went horseback riding, ate deer heart, reindeer and lingonberries. She also studied ancient methods of hunting. Patience, resilience, and the ability to listen. Michelle also went to a wolf reserve many times to study wolves. She said that the bad guy of the book is a bear because she had an encounter with a bear in Californiamarker, where she had to creep past a mama bear and her cubs.

She also thanks the Yeoman Ravenmaster of the Tower of London for introducing her to the ravens there.

Film, television, radio and theatrical adaptations

In 2005, 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to Wolf Brother, to be produced by Ridley Scott A draft script has been written by John Fusco. The film is to be live action. There has ben no recent news on where production stands on the film.

The book was adapted for BBC radio 4 by writer, Ivan Jones, in 2006. There is also an audio book, read by Ian McKellen.

External links


  1. Wolf Brother Audio Book

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