Because he can talk to animals, Vren is exiled to the forbidding forest outside the walls of his homeland. He is certain that he will die, as have others forced to wait at the gates. Then he is adopted, first by another exile, the gruff weather-worker Rusche, and then by a family of wolves. His peaceful new life is interrupted when Rusche is kidnapped by a spellbinder who has enslaved several of the psychic outcasts to do his bidding. With only a wolf as his companion, Vren sets out to free his friend. A certain vagueness in background details may raise questions in readers' minds, but on the whole this serious fable (a first novel) will win them over, with pockets of human warmth lighting up corners of a dark, dangerous world. (11-up)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Vren, an outcast because of his psychic abilities, is befriended by Rusche, a weather worker, and finds life good until Rusche disappears. With his companions Shel the seer and Trim the wolf, Vren searches for him, finding that Rusche, along with many others, has been captured by the Spellbinder, who steals souls. The conflict is cerebral and symbolic, and because the characters are ciphers, this mental conflict is bland and will not hold the interest of most readers. Holly Sanhuber, Muskego Public Library, Wis.