This is a story of demons, mammoths and the hostile landscapes of the north, from icy to volcanic. Paver’s lucid triple narrative, in the third person, but expressing the thoughts of boy, girl and wolf, is both love story and supernatural adventure, underpinned by research into (and experience of) survival skills and the practices of ancient clans. It transports us a long way from the here and now.
Having written six books in the prehistoric Chronicles of Ancient Darkness saga in the 00s, then another series, Gods and Warriors (and an adult novel), [Michelle Paver] returns to her earlier characters – Torak and Wolf – after a decade. Viper’s Daughter (Zephyr) picks up where 2009’s Ghost Hunter left off, with Torak and Wolf forced to follow Torak’s runaway companion Renn to the icy, forbidding north – a place full of deceit and dangers, not least woolly mammoths. Meticulously researched, atmospheric – a dish of rotten guillemot features – and relentless, this instalment deservedly introduces Paver to a new generation of readers.
Eleven years after the conclusion of the original Wolf Brother series, Paver returns to Torak's world for a brand new Stone Age adventure. Torak, Renn and Wolf must leave behind their forest world to journey to the bleak Far North, where a strange new enemy proves to be more evil than any they have ever encountered. What a thrill it is to be back in this world. It's an exhilarating, immersive adventure of clans, demons, ravenous ice bears, breathtaking action and heartfelt loyalties. Paver's vision of the natural world and our connections to it are the backbone of the story, ever more resonant in the light of children's concerns about the environment. The series has sold over three million copies worldwide and, although the original readers may now be in their twenties, the books have remained popular. Paver pulls off the tricky task of satisfying those existing fans while offering new readers a thrilling introduction. You could happily read Viper's Daughter as a standalone, but I am certain children will be lured further into this rich world.