All afternoon, Tam and Nina had been gathering firewood in the forest. They had dug so often into the snow that their fingers were numb, but at least their sacks were full. It was dark by the time they arrived home.
Every window was bright with candlelight, and long yellow patches fell across the snowy back garden.
Tam scratched his head. ‘Looks like a celebration.’
‘Don’t be silly. His sister snorted impatiently. ‘Nobody’s birthday.’
Still, the brightness of the house lifted their spirits. They picked up their pace and marched towards the back door.
Then they saw the paw prints.
Eleven year-old Tam and his twelve year-old sister Nina return from a day’s wood collecting to find the wolves holding their parents captive. They escape into the woods, searching for the legendary ‘Freefolk’ the only people able to fight against a cruel walking, talking ruling class of wolves. With the help of the Freefolk, the siblings hope they will be able to find and free their parents. By the end of the first adventure, they have both learned a great deal about surviving in the wild. They have also found a magic belt. Each of the following three stories includes a new adventure, and a new search for their parents. There is also a new magic element to be discovered. The books build to a climax in the fourth story when all their magic elements, skills and ingenuity are required as they take their search and their battle inside the Wolf-King’s Iron Castle.
Richard Harland effortlessly constructs a fantasy world for the Wolf Kingdom series despite each of the four titles being only around 80 pages. Each chapter includes a (mostly) full-page illustration from Laura Peterson, allowing the reader a good sense of the world and its occupants. Although obviously constructed as a series from the inception, with an overarching storyline, each book has its own satisfying story arc. Harland’s brief revisiting of the ‘story so far is’ seamlessly imbedded in the first few pages of the subsequent books. The adventures move swiftly through the complications, and the main characters grow until they earn the respect of all around them. This series, with both boy and girl main characters should attract a wide readership. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.
Wolf Kingdom series, Richard Harland Omnibus Books 2008
Book One: Wolf Kindom: Escape ISBN: 9781862917002
Book Two: Wolf Kingdom: Under Siege ISBN: 9781862917019
Book Three: Wolf Kingdom: Race to the Ruins ISBN: 9781862917026
Book Four: Wolf Kingdom: The Heavy Crown ISBN: 9781862917033