|Author: Michelle Paver|
|Illustrator: Geoff Taylor|
|Country: United Kingdom|
|Publisher: Orion Children's Books|
|Published Date: 30 September 2004|
|Pages: 224 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|Preceeded by: None|
|Followed by: Spirit Walker|
Torak is alone... wounded, terrified and on the run.
An outcast like his father, he has avoided all contact with the clans - until now. Now his father lies dead: slaughtered by a demon bear.
Somehow, Torak must keep going. His only ally is an orphaned wolf cub. His only chance of survival is his skill as a hunter. But starvation isn't the only thing in the Forest to fear.
Through the whispering spruce trees comes an evil more terrible than any clan can imagine, let alone defeat. The Moon of Red Willow is fast approaching: and soon Torak-and only Torak-must face a foe he can neither outrun nor outwit; a foe who stalks him as silently as breath.
The kind of story you dream of reading and all too rarely find... The descriptions of an ancient world... are wonderful. The vivid prose leaps off the page - The Times
An utterly gripping Bronze Age quest, written with compelling economy and detail - New Statesman
Wolf Brother gripped me from the very first page. It has the three qualities of a classic children's book. Attractive characters. Relentless pace. And superb writing. Added to which, it explores a world that was virtually unknown to us with real insight and authority - Anthony Horowitz
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 as outcasts. 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. 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 captured unaware by Renn, her brother Hord, and Oslak, of Raven Clan, who were searching for the person who "stole" their roe buck. Torak becomes their prisoner, and 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 to prove his innocence. He wins by temporarily blinding Hord with steam from some broth he tipped on the fire. This, together with the dog whistle Torak made to summon Wolf, makes Fin-Kedinn and Saeunn, the Raven Mage, see Torak as the 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. The other one is that only Torak can find the World Spirit, and kill the bear.
Torak escapes, helped by Renn, Hord's younger 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 strongest part of the world-soul, to please the World Spirit and ensure its aid. On their journey, they are attacked by an Otter Clan outcast called The Walker. Demented, The Walker tries to kill Renn and Torak. With quick wits, they convince The Walker that they are not evil, and he lets them go. Torak finds the first part of the Nanuak when he falls into a river, the second part in a cave, and the third part on their treacherous crossing of the Ice River close to the The High Mountains. Nearly at their destination, Renn and Torak are recaptured by Hord and Oslak, 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. The Soul Eaters created the demon-bear specifically to kill Torak's father; they will therefore see Torak as their enemy, and Torak may be destined 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 he must be the one to take the Nanuak to the Mountain becuase he helped Tenris, one of the Soul Eaters, to create the bear. Torak realizes that Wolf is his heart's blood, and as Wolf carries off the Nanuak, Hord and the demon-bear are engulfed by the ensuing avalanche and Torak gives the three pieces of Nanuak to the Mountain Spirit. The bear is engulfed in a rock slide, and Torak returns towards the Raven Clan camp alone, as Wolf joins a pack that lives on the Mountain.