Excerpt from Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Wolf Brother

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Book 1

by Michelle Paver

Wolf Brother
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 295 pages
    Feb 2006, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

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.

"Torak! Move!"

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."

"You 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?"

Wolf Brother © 2005 by Michelle Paver. All rights reserved. HarperCollins Children's Books

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.