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
    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Slowly, Fa's gaze left the sky and came to rest on his son's face. He looked as if he was wondering how much more Torak could take. "Ah, you're too young," he said. "I thought I had more time. So much I haven't told you. Don't—don't hate me for that later."

Torak looked at him in horror. Then he leaped to his feet. "I can't do this on my own. Shouldn't I try to find—"

"No!" said his father with startling force. "All your life I've kept you apart. Even—from our own Wolf Clan. Stay away from men! If they find out—what you can do . . ."

"What do you mean? I don't—"

"No time," his father cut in. "Now swear. On my knife. Swear that you will find the Mountain, or die trying."

Torak bit his lip hard. East through the trees, a gray light was growing. Not yet, he thought in panic. Please not yet.

"Swear," hissed his father.

Torak knelt and picked up the knife. It was heavy: a man's knife, too big for him. Awkwardly he touched it to the wound on his forearm. Then he put it to his shoulder, where the strip of wolf fur, his clan-creature, was sewn to his jerkin. In an unsteady voice he took his oath. "I swear, by my blood on this blade, and by each of my three souls—that I will find the Mountain of the World Spirit. Or die trying."

His father breathed out. "Good. Good. Now. Put the Death Marks on me. Hurry. The bear—not far off."

Torak felt the salty sting of tears. Angrily he brushed them away. "I haven't got any ochre," he mumbled.

"Take—mine."

In a blur, Torak found the little antler-tine medicine horn that had been his mother's. In a blur, he yanked out the black oak stopper, and shook some of the red ochre into his palm.

Suddenly he stopped. "I can't."

"You can. For me."

Torak spat into his palm and made a sticky paste of the ochre, the dark-red blood of the earth, then he drew the small circles on his father's skin that would help the souls recognize each other and stay together after death.

First, as gently as he could, he removed his father's beaver-hide boots and drew a circle on each heel, to mark the name-soul. Then he drew another circle over the heart, to mark the clan-soul. This wasn't easy, as his father's chest was scarred from an old wound, so Torak managed only a lopsided oval. He hoped that would be good enough.

Last, he made the most important mark of all: a circle on the forehead to mark the Nanuak, the world-soul. By the time he'd finished, he was swallowing tears.

"Better," murmured his father. But Torak saw with a clutch of terror that the pulse in his throat was fainter.

"Fa, I'm not leaving you, I—"

"Torak. You swore an oath." Again he closed his eyes. "Now. You—keep the medicine horn. I don't need it anymore. Take your things. Fetch me water from the river. Then—go."

I will not cry, Torak told himself as he rolled up his father's sleeping sack and tied it across his back; jammed his axe into his belt; stuffed his medicine pouch into his jerkin.

He got to his feet and looked about for the waterskin. It was ripped to shreds. He'd have to bring water in a dock leaf. He was about to go when his father murmured his name.

Torak turned. "Yes, Fa?"

"Remember. When you're hunting, look behind you. I—always tell you." He forced a smile. "You always—forget. Look behind you. Yes?"

Torak nodded. He tried to smile back. Then he blundered through the wet bracken toward the stream.

The light was growing, and the air smelled fresh and sweet. Around him the trees were bleeding: oozing golden pine-blood from the slashes the bear had inflicted. Some of the tree-spirits were moaning quietly in the dawn breeze.

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!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!