Synopses & Reviews
Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined.
In this page-turning, original, and spectacularly told adventure story, Torak and Wolf are joined by an incredible cast of characters as they battle to save their world, in this first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.
"Part riveting nature story, part rite of passage saga, Paver's first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series is set in a primeval forest some 6,000 years ago (according to an author's note). As the novel opens, 12-year-old Torak watches in horror as his father is mauled by a bear that is unnaturally vicious, 'possessed... [by] some demon from the Otherworld.' Before his father dies, he tells the boy that he must travel north to the Mountain of the World Spirit and that he must stay away from other people, for reasons he doesn't have time to explain. In his travels, Torak meets a wolf cub, whom he calls Wolf, and readers will likely be charmed by the scenes of their gradual bonding. But after Torak kills a buck, he falls into the hands of the Raven Clan claiming ownership of that part of the forest. When the clansmen learn that the boy can communicate with Wolf, they become convinced that he is the prophesied Listener who 'gives his heart's blood to the Mountain' in order to dispel a Shadow that threatens the forest (i.e., the possessed bear). A quest ensues, involving Torak, Wolf and a Raven Clan girl, Renn. The plot becomes intricate, but remains involving thanks to Paver's unusual setting and eccentric characters, plus the strict rules by which the clans live. Passages from the wolf cub's point of view seem extraneous, but Torak's coming- of-age tale will keep the pages turning. The author reveals many secrets at the end, nicely setting the stage for subsequent volumes. Ages 10-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"...[T]his first of a projected six episodes makes a muddled but strong start....By the end, readers will have a real feeling for what life in the wild must have been like, and will be looking forward to Torak's further exploits." Kirkus Reviews
glides on lines of smooth prose" Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books
"Pavers depth of research
makes this impressive British import
intriguing and believable." School Library Journal
6,000 years in the past, twelve-year-old Torak and his guide, a wolf cub, set out on a dangerous journey to fulfull an oath the boy made to his dying father to travel to the Mountain of the World Spirit seeking a way to destroy a demon-possessed bear that threatens all the clans.
About the Author
Michelle Paver was born in central Africa but went 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.
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series came from Michelle's lifelong passion for animals, anthropology, and the distant past—as well as an encounter with a large bear in a remote valley in Southern California. To research the books, Michelle has traveled to Finland, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Arctic Canada, and the Carpathian Mountains. She has slept on reindeer skins, swum with wild killer whales, and gotten nose-to-nose with polar bears—and, of course, wolves. The first five books have been made into widely acclaimed audiobooks, read by Ian McKellen.