An Anglo-Saxon Adventure for 9 to 13 year olds set on the Island of Lindisfarne at the time of the first Viking raid A.D. 793
It was Toland’s twelfth year of life when his father hurled the wolf’s head at the mighty Eorl Uhtred, bringing his childhood to a violent end. These were dangerous times, with people driven from their settlements, tribal wars, and bands of robbers on the roads, but Toland must keep his solemn promise to save the Lindisfarne Gospels from the Vikings, protect his family, and find his father. With his faithful hound Bodo, he sets off on his quest through Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and his many adventures lead him into the fortress of Bamburgh, the mysterious hermit on Inner Farne, the mystery of the stolen jewels, a blood debt, and a terrible discovery at the White Church…
Wonderful! If you want a book to get your child (or yourself!) interested in the Anglo-Saxon period, then this is the book to do it. The author has an amazing knowledge of Northumberland and Lindisfarne which is written into the story without taking it over. The period of the piece is also extremely well written, giving excellent descriptions of life, clothing and food etc. There is a young hero that you will be rooting, a strange helper that you will find intriguing, a villain you will be booing and a young girl that you will like. Gripping!
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian) Amazon reviewer.
Totally Absorbing! I love Carole Anne Carr’s books. This was the first one to be published and I still think the best (although Candle Dark and Thin Time are both great reads!). As soon as I had read the first couple of pages I was hooked and truly could not put it down. I know it is aimed at a younger audience (I am in my thirties I will say no more!), but it reminded me of books I had read over and over in my youth such as ‘I am David’ by Anne Holm and ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serrailier. As with all of Carole’s books the story is engaging and all the way through you are rooting for the hero. There is enough tension which makes you want to turn to the next page and the next! The characters and backdrops are very real, with enough narrative for you to picture it without wading through lots of descriptive text. It is obvious that Carole has fully researched the period and thoroughly immerses herself in it to enable you to do the same. An amazing author – I cannot wait for the second book in the series!
Shelly-G, reviewer on Amazon.
From the moment I read the first paragraph of Carole Anne Carr’s First Wolf I was hooked. We follow the journey of twelve year old Toland and his family who are forced to flee from the horrible Eorl Uhtred who is attacking villages, and due to Toland’s father’s refusal to give Eorl Uhtred what he wants, their village is next. I really cared about what happened to Toland and I was amazed by the ferocity of his sense of honour and courage as he helps his grandmother, mother and younger brother to safety. I forgot several times in the book that he is a boy and not a man. Despite his disability and young age, his dogged determination to follow his father’s instructions and the quest entrusted upon him by the monks of Lindisfarne endeared me to him and his plight. It’s a coming of age book that shows older children that although unfair and bad things do sometimes happen, the power of the good in people does win through over the bad. Sometimes children are forced to take control and lead the way. Poor Toland has enough trials and danger to last him a life time in First Wolf, but with his beloved dog Bodo by his side, and his friendship with a young girl Kendra, and help from others they meet on the way, mixed in with a little mythology and the supernatural, First Wolf is an excellent read.
Book review of First Wolf by writer and journalist Julie Phillips.
In a world and time more like our own than we would admit, Carole Anne Carr creates a story woven with child-understanding, Anglo-Saxon history, and mythical allusions. While full of adventure, action, and mystery, this hero-tale is anchored in a young boy’s rite of passage that involves the killing of his first wolf and his survival in the destructive adult world in which he lives. More evident in our early history, than in our present time of science and technology, are the boy’s otherworldly helpers who are everywhere around him, and central to this story is Toland’s dedication to fulfilling his promise to the monks of Lindisfarne, despite the threats to his life that this single-minded focus brings. From the beginning, the story holds readers both young and old and does not fail to surprise throughout. Left wanting more of this boy-man’s life, I would pose that readers will not let Carole rest until she returns to this period of history. Attempting to describe the lives of those who lived in Northumbria in the Dark Ages presents her with many difficulties, but in our return to the 8th century we are given glimpses of beliefs that have been passed down to us through the ages and that we still hold more deeply than we ever recognise.
Paddy Kennington - Ph.D., LPC, NCC, EMDR Level II.
If only more people knew about it! I first heard about this book when the author visited a bookshop, and I was lucky enough to get it signed… and it’s brilliant. Really absorbing, extremely gripping and basically a must read.
Alex S - Amazon Reviewer.
If this doesn’t get your son reading, nothing will! This is a rollicking, fast paced, action adventure with a believable young protagonist set in Anglo-Saxon Britain. Full of dramatic incident, every chapter ends on a cliff-hanger which keeps you turning the pages…. This reminded me of adventure books I read as a child; the sort that kept me awake and reading with a torch under the covers. Although ideal as a work to encourage a child to become reading-mad, it is completely absorbing for adults. (I am 57). I liked the sympathetic, though never sentimental, treatment of animals and children throughout the story. The author’s familiarity with the era, and confidence in depicting it, shines through. The events interwoven into the story seem credible without being invasive, although I am no expert in the period. I enjoyed the north-east English setting. There is a magical smattering of the supernatural which lifts the story out of the pragmatically historical and into a bewitching mythical world which is still recognisably our own. The baddie is horrid and there is enough nastiness for lads to get into. But there is a very beguiling, resourceful female character whom I am sure I would have loved when I was a girl. It leaves you wanting more, which is why I think it would be excellent to encourage independent reading in the target age group.
R. Healy - “fernhill gardener” (United Kingdom)