The cover of the first British edition
|Series||Chronicles of Ancient Darkness|
|Genre(s)||Children's Adventure, Fantasy novel|
|Publisher||Orion Children's Books|
|Publication date||30 September 2004|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback) & Audio book (CD & Cassette)|
|Pages||224 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 1-84255-170-1 (first edition, hardback)|
|Followed by||Spirit Walker|
In the pre-agricultural Europe set six thousand years ago, during the New Stone Age, the hunter-gatherers of the Forest live in clans. Torak and his father, of Wolf Clan, live alone in the Forest in hiding. 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 from the overflowing river. Wolf survived because he was up on higher ground, exploring only to come back to find his family dead. At first Wolf can't understand why his mother isn't responding to him.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 soon captured by the Raven Clan, who accuse Torak of stealing one of their roe deer. He 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, a Raven youth, to prove his innocence. He wins by temporarily blinding Hord with steam from broth. This, together with the dog whistle Torak made to summon Wolf, makes Fin-Kedinn and Saeunn, the Raven Mage, see Torak as the possible 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.
Torak escapes, helped by Renn, Hord's young 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 brightest soul, to please the World Spirit and ensure its aid. On their journey together, guided by Wolf, Torak finds the first part of the Nanuak when he falls into a river, the second part in a cave, and the third part while crossing the treacherous Ice River close to the High Mountains. Nearly at their destination, Renn and Torak are recaptured by the Ravens, 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. Toraks father was one of the seven soul eaters, but he left the soul eaters once they turned evil. The Soul Eaters created the demon-bear specifically to kill Torak's father; they will therefore see Torak as their enemy, and it is Torak's may be destiny 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 himself to be the one who must take the Nanuak to the Mountain. Torak realizes that the prophecy's "heart's blood" means Wolf, and as Wolf carries off the Nanuak, Hord and the demon-bear are engulfed by the ensuing rock slide. Torak escapes from under the rocks and look for wolf, but he only hears his howl in the distance, along with the howls of many wolves. Torak yells to wolf (In English) that he will one day return for him. Torak then turns around, and heads back for the forest.
Wolf brother was well received by critics,
The Times says "Wolf brother is the kind of story you dream of reading, and all too rarely find."
Publishers Weekly says "Torak's coming of age story will keep the pages turning."
"Like other great children's books which also entrance adults, Wolf Brother conjures up an utterly believable yet original world." —Ian McKellan
In 2005, 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to Wolf Brother, to be produced by Ridley Scott A draft script has been written by John Fusco. The film is to be live action. There has been no recent news on where production stands on the film.