Spirit Walker (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Series #2)
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Spirit Walker (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Series #2)

4.6 24
by Michelle Paver, Geoff Taylor

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As the Moon of No Dark waxes large, the clans fall prey to a horrifying sickness. Fear stalks the Forest. No one knows the cause—and only Torak can find the cure.

His quest takes him across the sea to the mysterious islands of the Seal Clan. Here, Torak battles an unseen menace and uncovers a betrayal that will change his life—forever.


As the Moon of No Dark waxes large, the clans fall prey to a horrifying sickness. Fear stalks the Forest. No one knows the cause—and only Torak can find the cure.

His quest takes him across the sea to the mysterious islands of the Seal Clan. Here, Torak battles an unseen menace and uncovers a betrayal that will change his life—forever.

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Paver has crafted an elegant and effective standalone novel whose fast pace will quickly engage readers.”
“Infused with an inexorable sense of menace.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Torak’s bravery against insurmountable dangers makes him an engaging and memorable hero.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Paver has crafted an elegant and effective standalone novel whose fast pace will quickly engage readers."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Paver has crafted an elegant and effective standalone novel whose fast pace will quickly engage readers.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Paver has crafted an elegant and effective standalone novel whose fast pace will quickly engage readers.”
When a horrifying sickness threatens all the forest clans, 12-year-old orphan Torak must embark on a hero's mission to save them. This stand-alone sequel to Wolf Brother pits a vulnerable boy with special powers against an unseen menace.
Publishers Weekly
Torak, the 12-year-old first introduced in Wolf Brother (PW called this launch title in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series "part riveting nature story, part rite of passage saga"), must find a cure for a deadly sickness that plagues the primeval forest in Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver, a quest that takes him to the islands of the Seal Clan and brings some disturbing truth to light. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Deadly disease stalks the Raven Clan, and Torak, an orphan adopted by the close knit community, senses that vanquishing the horrible illness is his challenge to conquer, alone. Slipping out of the camp with only a note inscribed on a stone to Renn, his best friend, seems to be the course of wisdom. Nevertheless, Renn sees the act as a foolhardy and deadly choice. Following her friend, Renn is later joined by Wolf, Torak's adopted four-legged brother. The separate quests of each of the teens lead straight into adventure, danger, betrayal, and death. Torak must convince the Seal Clan Mage that he is searching for a cure or he will be left to the mercy of the ocean. Renn and Wolf must find Torak in time to save him. The author brings startling authenticity to this prehistoric novel, not only through her well researched descriptions of the human characters and settings, but more remarkably through the mental processes and vocabulary of Wolf. His devoted search for "Tall Tailless" and his musings about the "Big Wet," the "Fast Wet," or the "Up" are absolutely logical, and yet original. Paver writes as a wolf might think. The author also captures the essence of morality of each clan culture with its respect for nature as a partner in existence and consistent thanksgiving for its provision. Volume two in the "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" will capture the interest and imagination of adolescent readers, as did its prequel, Wolf Brother. Librarians, teachers, history buffs, and fantasy fans will enthusiastically endorse each of these titles and be impatient for the publication of volume three. 2006, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, Ages 10 to 15.
—Janice DeLong
After witnessing firsthand the terrible madness that suddenly afflicted some of his clan, thirteen-year-old Torak sets off alone seeking a cure. Pursued by small demon-like creatures and barred from the deep forest, Torak turns toward the Seal Clan's island home for help. Captured by members of the clan, he faces punishment for unwittingly desecrating the sea, but Torak saves himself by enlisting the aid of the Clan Mage, Tenris, who claims to know a cure for the sickness. Risking his life, Torak gathers herbs to concoct the medicine on Midsummer's Night. Tenris, recognizing Torak as a Spirit Walker (a person whose soul can enter the spirit of another creature), plans Torak's ritual death instead. Torak's friend, Renn, and his pack-brother, Wolf, sense his danger and arrive in time to affect a rescue. Together they discover the cure and carry it home. A harsh primeval setting provides the perfect backdrop for this second installment of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. One thrilling crisis follows another as Torak continues to explore the unusual gifts he has been born with and discover his destiny. Details of the many clans who people Torak's world and their respectful treatment of the animals and plant life that share it stand out in stark contrast to twenty-first century society. Torak's bravery against insurmountable dangers makes him an engaging and memorable hero. A sequel, Soul Eater, is planned for 2007. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, HarperCollins, 368p., and PLB Ages 11to 18.
—Nancy K. Wallace
This second book in Paver's series, following Wolf Brother, takes readers back 6,000 years ago again with Torak, Renn and Wolf as they face an evil sickness that has crept among the clans, spreading destruction and death. As Torak sets out alone to seek a cure for the sickness, he discovers just how different he is from everyone else...and why the Soul Eaters covet his emerging powers. The setting shifts from forest to sea, from Raven clan to Seal clan. Paver's research into the traditions of the Sami and Inuit peoples provides readers with a vivid depiction of their lifestyle and customs, as well as their reverence for the sea creatures that sustain them. Paver also sensitively addresses fear born of ignorance and superstition, realistically depicting tensions between clans separated by time and geography that speak to readers of the 21st century. The implicit message is that we are all more alike than different, and if we take the time to listen and understand each other's cultures, we can live in harmony. Disturbing revelations at the end of this novel will whet readers' appetites for the sequel, Soul Eaters, in which Torak will be forced to face his destiny. (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, #2). KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Harper Collins, 360p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Torak, Renn, and Wolf are reunited in this eerie, fast-paced "Outbreak meets X-Files" sequel to Paver's Wolf Brother (HarperCollins, 2005). Torak has settled in with the Raven Clan, more or less happily, although he still misses Wolf. This changes when a hideous disease starts attacking not only the Ravens, but the Forest clans as well. Torak is convinced that he has something to do with it and heads out to look for the Seal Clan, who might have a cure. After a terrifying run-in with a boar and the "True Forest People," who tell him about the tokoroth, children stolen to become hosts to demons, he is kidnapped by three Seal Clan boys. Renn also knows about the tokoroth and goes in search of Torak. She first meets up with Wolf, and they join forces. On Seal Island, the mage Tenris, who claims to know the cure for the disease, sends Torak and his three kidnappers off on a dangerous expedition to find the secret ingredient. Near death, Torak discovers the ability to "Spirit Walk"-leave his body and become another creature. He, Renn, and Wolf also learn the truth about the "Soul-Eater." Knowledge of events in the first book isn't required to make this a fun read, but newcomers will be clamoring for it, and all will eagerly await the next installment.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Starting where Wolf Brother (2005) left off, this engrossing sequel reunites young Stone Age survivor Turok with his beloved wolf. Joined by shaman-in-training Renn and harried by mysterious, demonic children called Tokoroth, Turok steals off into the Deep Woods in search of help for the hideous disease that is suddenly stalking all of the local clans. But the quest soon turns seaward as scarred, kind-voiced Tenris, Mage of the standoffish Seal Clan, claims to have a cure. As before, Paver incorporates vivid descriptions of her characters' woodcraft and other skills, as well as credible views of their oneness with the natural world and animistic beliefs-details that enrich her complex tale without impeding its quick pace. By the end, Turok has witnessed the death of one of the six evil Soul Eating Mages discovered in the previous episode, and learned something of his own eldritch abilities. One baddie down, five to go. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2: Spirit Walker

By Michelle Paver

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Michelle Paver
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060728280

Chapter One

The auroch appeared quite suddenly from the trees on the other side of the stream.

One moment Torak was gazing at sun-dappled willows -- the next, there she was. She stood taller than the tallest man, and her great curving horns could have skewered a bear. If she charged, he was in trouble.

By bad luck, he was upwind of her. He held his breath as he watched her twitch her blunt black muzzle to taste his scent. She snorted. Pawed the earth with one massive hoof.

Then he saw the calf peering from the bracken, and his belly turned over. Aurochs are gentle creatures -- except when they have calves.

Without a sound, Torak drew back into the shade. If he didn't startle her, maybe she wouldn't charge.

Again the auroch snorted, and raked the ferns with her horns. At last she seemed to decide that he wasn't hunting her after all, and slumped down in the mud to have a wallow.

Torak blew out a long breath.

The calf wobbled toward its mother, slipped, bleated, and fell over. The cow auroch raised her head and nosed it to its feet, then lay back to enjoy herself.

Crouching behind a juniper bush, Torak wondered what to do. Fin-Kedinn, the Clan Leader, had sent him to retrieve a bundle ofwillow bark that had been soaking in the stream; he didn't want to return to camp without it. Neither did he want to get trampled by an auroch.

He decided to wait for her to leave.

It was a hot day at the beginning of the Moon of No Dark, and the Forest was drowsy with sun. The trees echoed with birdsong; a warm southeasterly breeze carried the sweetness of lime blossom. After a while, Torak's heartbeats slowed. He heard a clutch of young greenfinches squealing for food in a hazel thicket. He watched a viper basking on a rock. He tried to fix his thoughts on that, but as so often happened, they drifted to Wolf.

Wolf would be nearly full-grown by now, but he'd been a cub when Torak had known him: falling over his paws, and pestering Torak for lingonberries. . . .

Don't think about Wolf, Torak told himself fiercely. He's gone. He's never coming back, never. Think about the auroch, or the viper, or --

That was when he saw the hunter.

He was on this side of the water, twenty paces downstream, but downwind of the auroch. The shade was too deep to make out his face, but Torak saw that like him, he wore a sleeveless buckskin jerkin and knee-length leggings, with light rawhide boots. Unlike Torak, he wore a boar tusk on a thong around his neck. Boar Clan.

Ordinarily, Torak would have been reassured. The Boars were fairly friendly with the Raven Clan, with whom he'd been living for the past six moons. But there was something very wrong about this hunter. He moved with an awkward, lurching gait, his head lolling from side to side. And he was stalking the auroch. Two slate throwing axes were stuck in his belt -- and as Torak watched in disbelief, he pulled one out and hefted it in his hand.

Was he insane? No man hunts an auroch on his own. An auroch is the biggest, strongest prey in the Forest. To attack one on your own is asking to be killed.

The auroch, happily unaware, grunted and rubbed deeper into the mud, relishing the relief from the troublesome midges. Her calf nosed a clump of willowherb, waiting for her to finish.

Torak rose to his feet and warned the hunter with urgent slicing motions of his palm: Danger! Go back!

The hunter didn't see him. Flexing his brawny arm, he took aim -- and hurled the axe.

It whistled through the air and thudded into the ground a hand's breadth from the calf.

The calf fled. Its mother gave an outraged bellow and lumbered to her feet, casting about for the attacker. But the hunter was still downwind; she didn't catch his scent.

Incredibly, he was reaching for his second axe.

"No!" Torak whispered hoarsely. "You'll only hurt her and get us both killed!"

The hunter wrenched the axe from his belt.

Torak thought swiftly. If the axe found its mark, the auroch would be unstoppable. But if she was startled instead of wounded, maybe she would merely make a mock charge, and flee with her calf. He had to get her out of range of that axe, fast.

Taking a deep breath, he jumped up and down, waving his arms and yelling, "Over here! Over here!"

It worked -- in a way. The auroch gave a furious bellow and charged at Torak -- and the axe hit the mud where she'd stood a heartbeat before. As she splashed toward Torak, he threw himself behind an oak tree.

No time to climb it -- she was almost upon him. He heard her grunt as she heaved herself up the bank -- he felt her heat on the other side of the tree trunk. . . . At the last moment she swerved, flicking up her tail and blundering off into the Forest, her calf galloping after her.

The silence when she'd gone was deafening.

Sweat poured down Torak's face as he leaned against the oak.

The hunter stood with his head down, rocking from side to side.

"What were you doing?" panted Torak. "We could've been killed!"

The hunter did not reply. Lurching across the stream, he retrieved his axes and stuck them in his belt, then shambled back again. Torak still couldn't see his face, but he took in the hunter's muscled limbs and jagged slate knife. If it came to a fight, he'd lose. He was just a boy, not even thirteen summers old.

Suddenly the hunter stumbled against a beech tree and began to retch.

Torak forgot his alarm and ran to help him.


Excerpted from Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #2: Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver Copyright © 2006 by Michelle Paver. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michelle Paver was born in central Africa, but moved to England as a child. After earning a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University, she became a partner in a London law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full-time.

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness arises from her lifelong passions for animals, anthropology, and the distant past. It was also inspired by her travels in Norway, Lapland, Iceland, and the Carpathian Mountains—and particularly by an encounter with a large bear in a remote valley in Southern California.

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Spirit Walker 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wolf Brother is my favorite book, this book 'Sprit Walker' is also great! great! great! i got my friend to read wolf brother and she also read harry potter. she said how she wondered why she even read harry potter! Wolf brother and Spirit Walker are the best books you will ever read!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
its better than Wolf Brother. a good twist, plot, and i love how Wolf came back to Torak. (oohps!) great story for anyone who liked Wolf Brother.
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moosesrule882 More than 1 year ago
I love this book! They just keep getting better! Michelle Paver does a great job! The end with the Seal Mage trying to eat Torak's heart was so cool! Great job!
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GreekCowgirl More than 1 year ago
The second in a series of 4 (soon to be 5) The adventure, separation and lose Torak goes through will keep you turning the pages!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It was so cool actually understanding what Torak went through. Like a dream world that I've always wanted to escape through. My head couldn't get out, it was like I was in a trance!!!!!! I want to read #3 Soul eater!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love how it just started right away with a journey. You have no idea what happens and it throws out a great truth and secret at the end! Anyone should buy it especially people who read Wolf Brother. I also liked how it talked in Wolf and Renn's point of view as well as Torak's. Totally amazing! Michelle Paver really knows how to wirte a book! Poor Torak though. Terrible secret! READ IT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
yet real! Spirit Walker places you into a real time, and what the poeple then belived. By far one of the great Chldren books of our time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book, but would be a lot better if i could read it on the nook
Enjoyslife More than 1 year ago
I can't rate this book because I haven't physically seen it, but ordered it for my grandson who knows that I love to buy him books. Thus he asked for Spirit Walker. He'd avidly read the first in this series and anxiously awaited the second. However, when I asked what he thought of it, he said that he was still reading. From that, my assumption is that he was not as enthralled by Spirit Walker as by its predecessor, nor was his interest sustained long enough to ask me for the sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
never read this book it is poor and boring the middle is OK but the beggining and end were horrible. BORING, u can expect things so eaisly no good cliff hangers. DON'T READ THIS BOOK, IT'S HORRIBLE