Fire Bringer

( 189 )

Overview

In a Scotland beset by Norse invaders, the deer—the Herla—are fighting their own war. A tyrannical new lord of the herd has ended the old way, the yearly play of antlers that ensured a change of leadership. At his command is a corps of young stags, scars on their brows and antlers sharpened for the kill, whose mission is complete dominion over the animal world. But Herla lore promises a hero—a fawn with a strange birthmark whose unique bond ...
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Overview

In a Scotland beset by Norse invaders, the deer—the Herla—are fighting their own war. A tyrannical new lord of the herd has ended the old way, the yearly play of antlers that ensured a change of leadership. At his command is a corps of young stags, scars on their brows and antlers sharpened for the kill, whose mission is complete dominion over the animal world. But Herla lore promises a hero—a fawn with a strange birthmark whose unique bond with all creatures, including man, will ignite an epic battle and free the Herla forever.

In this grand and gripping book, with its echoes of myth, legend, and gospel, David Clement-Davies has created a classic hero tale set in a society that is at once convincingly animal and a sharp reflection of our own.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In what PW called a "suspenseful debut novel," a pack of deer face the realization of an ancient prophecy and a struggle between good and evil builds to the very end. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clement-Davies's suspenseful debut novel centers on a cast of deer, who, like the rabbits in Watership Down, often use their own special vocabulary (deer, for instance, are "Herla"; an insult to a Herla would be to call him a "brailah," or hedgehog). Soon after the novel opens, the deer are fleeing from the power-hungry Lord of the Herd, Sgorr, a buck with a mysterious past who is slowly building a militaristic following. An ancient prophecy states that a fawn with an oak leaf-shaped mark on his forehead is destined to free his kind from the "lord of lies." When Rannoch is born with such a mark, the elders know to protect him from Sgorr and arrange his escape with a pack of friends. Rannoch discovers as they travel that he can talk to--and even heal--other animals. Meanwhile, Sgorr conquers herd after herd and uses other wildlife as fodder for his militia's training. Rannoch doesn't want to fight, but when an assassin murders the hind who raised him, he knows he must confront Sgorr--and fulfill the rest of the prophecy. The struggle between good and evil builds right up to the final face-off. Some chapters drag a bit, and the narration occasionally breaks out of the deer's point of view to fill in scientific facts about mating or herd behavior, but for the most part the adventures are likely to captivate readers. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Clement-Davies makes an impressive writing debut with this multilayered animal fantasy featuring red deer, who refer to themselves as the Herla, as the main characters. Rannoch is born on the night that Drail, the leader of his herd, and Drail's corrupt and power-hungry advisor, Sgorr, overturn the order of the herd and establish a new regime. Rannoch is a threat to Drail's command; the oak leaf-shaped mark on his forehead is the mark of an ancient prophecy among the Herla. At first gifted with the ability to hide in plain sight, Rannoch eventually is forced to flee along with some of his friends, and he begins the long quest to unravel his identity and fulfill the prophecy. Although the suspenseful, well-paced plot is typical of many high fantasies, Clement-Davies weaves deer lore, a societal structure, and mythology into the tale, infusing it with multiple layers of meaning. Rannoch, for example, reflects on issues of faith and of the misuse of faith as he encounters different reactions to Herne, the Herla's god. None of these elements are intrusive; the author makes them integral to the story. The narrative is gripping and engrossing, right up to the satisfying climax and conclusion, and it has wide appeal across age and intellectual levels. The characterizations are strikingly complex and convincing, whether hero or villain, staying true to throughout their development. There are a few awkwardly written passages, but overall, the writing is rich, lucid, and sure to win loyal readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult andYoung Adult). 2000, Dutton, 512p, $19.95. Ages 14 to Adult. Reviewer: Donna L. Scanlon

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

Children's Literature
This heroic tale of Rannoch, in which a red deer from medieval Scotland has a mysterious birth and exciting adventures, teaches about integrity, destiny, friendship and love. He is born during a dark time for deer, when an evil Lord of the Herds threatens to take over all of the land and the animals in it. A prophecy among the deer, however, tells of a hero born with a mark of an oak leaf on his brow. Rannoch is that fawn, and the story follows his adventures. He learns of Man, of Fire, and of how to heal others; he is born to be a healer, but it is not his destiny to do nothing but heal. Rannoch must fight the evil Lord Sgorr and save his friends and all the other animals from this tyrant. Through the personification of animals, Clement-Davies carries the reader on a ride through the fulfillment of a prophecy that will save the world of the red deer. Although the story closely resembles Richard Adam's Watership Down, the differences are enough to set Clement-Davies' work apart as a novel that teaches about determination, honor, friendship and destiny. The story follows a quest for self-realization and the actualization of destiny; it is an exploration into the way we must deal with the lot we are given in life. It is truly a novel worth picking up, for it helps us to understand that life can be unpredictable and chaotic, but with determination and friends anything can be accomplished. 2002 (orig. 1999), Firebird, and Ages 10 up.
—Rachel Bassett
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's January 2001 review of the hardcover edition: Among the red deer of ancient Scotland, who call themselves the Herla, a prophecy foretells the coming of "a healer and a king." He will be marked with the sign of an oak leaf on his forehead, and he is destined to bring freedom to his kind. And indeed, a fawn with such a mark is born, on the very day of his father's murder: Rannoch (the name comes from a poem by T.S. Eliot). His mother hides him from the dictatorial Lord of the Herd, who seeks power over all the animals, but eventually Rannoch must leave his home in order to survive. He undertakes a journey to the Great Mountains to find out more about the prophecy and how he is to fulfill his role. On the way he meets strange creatures like moles, seals, reindeer, wolves and even humans, and he returns to fight for freedom for the Herla in a great and terrible battle. This grand epic brings to mind Watership Down, both in its imaginative depiction of animal society and in its allegorical aspects. First-time British author Clement-Davies has created an exciting adventure that draws on elements of myth and legend. It will enthrall and stir both fantasy fans and animal lovers of all ages, who will be swept up in the action right from the start. KLIATT Codes: JSA*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Penguin Putnam, Firebird, 498p. map.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-A sweeping story of prophecy and adventure set in medieval Scotland and mixed with liberal doses of the habits of red deer. The Lore of the Herla foretells the coming of one deer that will restore the traditional ways of life to the herd. Rannoch, born on the night of his father's murder and the overthrowing of the Outrider stags, seems destined to fulfill this prophecy. To protect him, his mother gives him to another hind to raise and engineers the escape of a group of hinds and fawns to travel with him. Rannoch finds he is different from his friends-he has a unique birthmark, prophetic dreams, healing powers, and the ability to communicate with other species. As he grows, so does the danger to the home herd, with first Drail and then Sgorr introducing progressively militaristic measures to the deer. As Rannoch matures, the violence in the world grows as does the violence within him. For a while, he turns his back on his friends, but in the final climactic battle with Sgorr, he takes his place as Lord of the Herd and restores the balance of the forest. While the Herla talk and have a mythology, they are deer through and through-they search for food, the stags fight for their harems, and protection of the young is one of the highest priorities. Even Rannoch, a pacifist, eventually realizes the Herla's only hope is to continue behaving like deer, not to follow Sgorr's idea of becoming more like humans. Give Fire Bringer to fans of Brian Jacques's "Redwall" books (Philomel) and Richard Adams's Watership Down (Macmillan, 1974).-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the primeval forest there is a prophecy: a fawn born with an oak-leaf mark on his forehead will change the future of the Herne (as the deer are called). This augury is the keystone of first-time novelist Clement-Davies's sweeping animal fantasy. Rannoch is the hunted and hidden fawn who must find his destiny. His father and the entire legion of Outrider bucks have been betrayed and slain by Drail, the Lord of the Herds and his followers. Rannoch is fostered among strangers, only to be hunted first by the Drail's Nazi-like legions and then by the Machiavellian Sgorr and his minion. Tutored by the others of the animal kingdom, rescued by man, surviving many close calls on his journey, Rannoch faces his ambivalence and fear to lead the deer from their bondage. This vividly told story is not for the faint of heart: dreadful predictions, holocaust-like massacres, and ritual killings pervade this tale. Imaginatively placed in the wilds of ancient Britain, the obviousness of the allegory, with Rannoch as a Christ-like figure may make some readers cringe and others fill with ominous dismay, as it seems the story rushes to an unmistakable conclusion. Jaded readers of the genre will be surprised and relieved as the narrative veers off into the unexpected. A hurtling ride. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher
...the writing is rich, lucid, and sure to win loyal readers. (VOYA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615551385
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/5/2009
  • Pages: 512
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Clement-Davies is a journalist and travel writer. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 189 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(163)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 189 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great read!

    The first time I read work from this author was with The Sight, and I absolutely fell in love with the story. Then, I heard from one of my friends about this book, and -- to be honest -- I was skeptical about reading a book about deer. However, after a chapter or two of semi-boring reading, I got pretty much addicted to the story. By the time I was done reading the book, I was convinced that this was one of my favorites.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    from watership down in england now to the land of scotland; firebringer is a great read for nature and anthromorphic lovers!

    Just like the story of Watership Down, Firebringer takes the reader into the world of animals and the society they live in. The story is of a young deer Rannoch, born on the very night his father is murdered. Throughout the ages, the Herla (deer) have foretold a legend where a deer with a birthmark shaped like an oak leaf will free the Herla from their oppresser-Rannoch is that deer. Follow him on his journey from the Low Lands to the High Hills to escape those that would destroy him, to the sea, the mountains and even to come face to face with the dreaded animal called man. This book; like watership down, explains of the deer having their own idea of God and their own language like Herla is the term for deer and Larn id nightfall. I highly recommend this book for anyone who like animals and nature or simply wannts a book about our world and that maybe we are not the only intelligent creatures on this planet. A great read that I couldn't put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    Simply Brilliant!

    Fire Bringer is and always will be on my short list of 'favorites'. It's brilliant from start to finish. David creates a world that's simply stunning in its own right. This book was wonderful and the characters were ones I fell in love with and still hold close to my heart. It's the type of book that, if you rented it from the library, you'll want to buy simply to have it. David is a brilliant author and deserves the high acclaim that he gets. *claps*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    For fantasy/animal lovers

    I found this book pleasant to read. It is an easy read, I recommend it for teens and up. Very interesting, imaginative and descriptive. Kept me busy for a few nights. Good read for the price. If you like reading fantasy stories that mainly involve animals in a somewhat nature like setting then this is a book for you. It's basically about the lives of deer, in a fantasy way of course. It also has a few historical references, which tie everything together. Good, easy read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    An Amazing Book

    This book has captured my interest many times. I have re-read this book at least ten times and it continues to captivate my interest. It is a great book for anyone who enjoys action, suspense, and a prophecy. All in all its is one of my favorite books and I would recommend it to everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    David Clement-Davies' writing is some of the best writing I have

    David Clement-Davies' writing is some of the best writing I have ever read; obviously if you don't like the whole "animals that talk! and do human-ish things!" bit, you're not going to like Fire Bringer.

    But if you like it - or, hell, if you think you can deal with it for the sake of a good book - read Fire Bringer.

    There's a reason this book sits on my favorites shelf. Let's just start with the world Davies has created; it's so brilliant, so intricate, so well thought out that I can't help but be in awe. Every type of animal that Rannoch comes across has it's own well thought out culture. Even the deer aren't all lumped into one category; each type of dear has it's own way it functions, it's own belief systems. Though they think like humans, they each keep to their original animal core.

    And the characters! Oh, the characters! Even the smallest characters in the story are developed to have a full personality and not just appear on the page. They're all brilliantly written. I even love the villains; Sgorr is one of the most evil little things I've ever come across, but I still love him because he's so brilliantly put together. And Rannoch! He may make me headdesk sometimes, but I love him. And Willow and Peppa and Bankfoot and - but I'm getting on a rant now.

    The plot, though, may be my favorite bit about this story. There are so many little things going on that you don't pick up on until you get to the end of the story. And the overall plot is enthralling and interesting and just-

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  • Posted October 8, 2012

    Fantastic read for a different point of view

    I read this in middle school, and rediscovered it 15 years later in graduate school. It's a great for anyone who loves a fantasy novel and doesn't mind reading from a non-human perspective. I'd recommend it for any age group to read, it's a wonderful story, easy read, and shouldn't be a struggle to enjoy for younger readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Epic


    Epicness

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Who wouldn't want to read this book

    Fire Bringer is an amazing story. It tells the story from a deers point of veiw. This is a very creative story. At times it can be sad but you can never put it down. David clement davis is a wonderful auther. I would also recommend The Sight by David clement davis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Really good

    AWESOME BUT I THINK CLEMENT-DAVIED BOOK THE SIGHT IS BETTER.THIS BOOK IS REALLY SAD BUT MOVING JUST LIKE THE SIGHT AND IT MAKES YOU WONDERWHAT LIFE IS REALLY ALL ABOUT AND WHY THE WORLD AND HUMANS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HERE EXISTS.Best book ever written from a deer's point of view definitely read but also read the sight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2012

    Great book

    One of the greatest books I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Must Read!

    One of my favorites! Highly recommend no matter what your usual genre is!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Seems good

    This book seems good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Rowdy

    Best book ever u must read!!!:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    I can't believe i never read this book sooner! It was awesome!!!!

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Awsome

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Best

    It is the best since watership down which is the best book ecer written

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    The only thing i hated about the book was when it was over...... is it weird if u read the same book like 100 times in one summer?

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    A must read.

    This is one of my favorite books. Honestly i will never look a dear the same again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    Well....

    I honestly found this book very hard to get through. I though it was a little boring in some parts. In fact i never really finshed it. Maybe I'll try again sometime.

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