|Author: Michelle Paver|
|Illustrator: Geoff Taylor|
|Country: United Kingdom|
|Publisher: Orion Children's Books|
|Published Date: September 2005|
|Pages: 288 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|Preceded by: Wolf Brother|
|Followed by: Soul Eater|
- (Beware- Spoilers!!!)
The story begins with Torak fetching something for Fin-Kedinn from a river. However, before he can get it, a female auroch and her child appear on the other side of the river. Torak, waiting for her to leave, spots a hunter trying to hunt the auroch all by himself. Realizing that if the hunter wounds the child it would be death for both himself and the hunter, Torak scares the Auroch away before the hunter reaches it. He then asks what the hunter was doing. The hunter gives no response and then jumps on Torak, his skin oozing with sores. After this he shouts: "It is coming!" before running of into the forest. Torak swiftly runs back to the Raven Camp to warn Fin-Kedinn about 'It'. Sickness.
Upon reaching the Raven Camp Torak asks where Fin-Kedinn is, but unfortunately, he is busy. Next he asks for Saeunn, and then Renn. Both of them are also busy. Looking around, Torak notices that all is peaceful in the camp, and wonders if he is worring about nothing.
However, Oslak, a member of the tribe, develops the sickness as well. Against Fin-Kedinn's orders, Torak sets out on his own. Furious, Renn follows him when she discovers he is gone. Torak thinks the Deep Forest may hold secrets, but is followed by a strange creature and bad luck befalls him on his way. The Deep Forest holds none of the secrets he is looking for, but the Deep Forest leader, before she disappears, tells Torak the "Follower" is a tokoroth and the cure is at the Sea.
Renn, meanwhile, worries about the strange creature that had bitten her. Saeunn had told her it was a tokoroth, and as she follows Torak with Wolf as a guide, having summoned him with the grouse-bone whistle around her neck, she is mystified when Wolf leads her away from the Deep Forest, toward the Sea. After some indecision, she follows him.
Torak gets in trouble with three Seal Clan boys, because he didn't know about a rule stating that Forest Clans should not go to the Sea. They kidnap him after a struggle and take him to their leader. As they sail away in the skinboat, Torak hears Wolf's howl and struggles to go back, but it is too late.
Renn realizes Torak is gone and becomes angry when she learns he has been kidnapped. She makes it to the Seal islands and keeps carefully hidden, spying on the Seals and on Torak. The Follower, or the tokoroth, is also on the island, though...
As strange events unfold, Torak tells Tenris, the Seal Mage, about the sickness. Tenris instructs him to climb up a cliff to look for the cure, with Renn staying hidden nearby in case her help is needed. By this time, Renn has already discovered the Seal Mage's secret, that he is in fact a soul eater and the one who created the sickness in the first place. She soon reveals her discovery to Bale, Torak's kin and new Seal Clan friend, who is at first wary of her and has no time to talk to her, because Tenris has declared her sick and isolated her after he saw the tokoroth bite on her hand.
However, Bale later believes her after witnessing Wolf knock over the bowl of juniper berries he offered to Renn, as the berries are poisoned (thus causing the sickness). Bale then helps Renn on the rescue mission to save Torak, who has been kidnapped by Tenris and tied onto his stone altar upon a cliff to be sacrificed. The ritual is interrupted by Wolf, but Wolf is unable to stop it after Tenris uleashed a ring of fire around the altar to stop him from coming forth.