Today, I have the utter joy of being part of the blog tour for ‘Skin Taker’ by Michelle Paver. I get to share with you an exclusive extract from the book! I really hope you enjoy it and it gets you excited for the release of this brilliant new book!
Danger, magic and non stop adventure await Torak, Renn and Wolf in a devastating Dark Time that threatens everything they know. The Clans will be tested as never before, as they battle to find ways to survive and thrive in their beloved Forest.
In the Dark Time of midwinter, disaster strikes the Forest. Chaos rules. Bears woken from their dens prowl the shadowy valleys. Desperate clans battle for survival. Only demons thrive. With their world in turmoil, Torak, Renn and Wolf are tested as never before. And as a new evil haunts the devastated land, Torak must risk his sanity, his life and even his souls to save everything he loves…
A Lynx Clan hunter saw it first. He was trudging along a ridge, checking his snares, when he spotted a brilliant spark of light moving fast across the night sky.
The hunter had seen such stars before. He knew they meant the World Spirit was shooting arrows at demons, so he was reassured as he went on his way.
Midwinter, the Dark Time, when the sun is asleep in its cave and doesn’t show its face for two whole moons. No wind. Silent pines watching him pass. The only sounds the crunch of his snowshoes, the creak of his reindeer- hide parka and leggings. His breath.
As he approached the next snare he could see as clear as day, thanks to starlight and snowglow, and the rippling green radiance in the sky which the clans call the First Tree.
Good. He’d snared a willow grouse.
The horsehair noose was frozen stiff, so was the bird. As the hunter stooped to retrieve it, something made him glance up. He was startled to see that the star had grown much brighter, and doubled in size.
On the riverbank Renn poked her head out of the shelter. ‘Come on, Torak!’ she called crossly. ‘We need to get going!’
‘I’ll catch you up!’ he replied without turning his head.
‘No, you won’t, you’ll invent an excuse and stay here!’
He blew out a cloud of frosty breath. Perfect conditions for ice fishing. He’d hacked four beautiful holes and laid a stick across each one, from which he’d hung his lines and hooks. To attract the fish he’d made torches of folded birch bark jammed in split sticks, and set them in a row. The First Tree was helping too, shining so brightly it was sending the trout crazy, he’d already caught three. Why couldn’t he stay here peacefully with the wolves?
Wolf bounded up as if he’d heard Torak’s thoughts and licked the frost off his eyebrows. With a grin Torak pushed Wolf’s muzzle aside. His thick winter pelt was sprinkled with snow and his breath smelt of fish. It would take too long to tell him in wolf talk that his shadow was spooking the trout, so Torak distracted him by backing away on all fours, uttering eager little grunt-whines: Let’s play!
Lashing his tail, Wolf went down on his forelegs: Yes, let’s! Then he pounced, soft-biting his pack-brother’s arm with muffled growls and hauling him over the ice.
‘You know I’m not leaving without you,’ called Renn. In the glare of the torchlight she was a black figure by their shelter, but in his mind Torak saw her red hair tucked behind her ears, her pale, well-loved, infuriatingly stubborn face. ‘Dark wants us at the Feast,’ she insisted.
‘Yes, but why?’
‘I don’t know, he said it’s important. And he’s our friend, and he never asks us for anything!’
Torak tossed a trout onto the far bank and watched Wolf race after it. He heaved a sigh.
The Moon of Long Dark was over and they were into the strange days before Sunwake, when the endless blue night was briefly lightened by a false dawn. The sky would grow pale, as if the sun was about to show itself above the Mountains – only for darkness to return as the sun retreated into its cave.
This is a super popular series at school, so getting my hands on the newest addition to the series proved me to be even more popular than I was (purely based on my bookish acquisitions!). As soon as I mentioned that I had a copy of the brand new book, one of my kids grabbed it from me… so I’ve not read it yet!
Feedback from my kid:
“Miss, this is the best one yet and I can feel that there’s SO MUCH MORE to come”
(I was then asked to be quiet so he could keep reading, ha!)
Skin Taker by Michelle Paver is published 1st April 2021, published by Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus, price £12.99 in hardback.
Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour; Ed PR have planned a brilliant blog tour for us all with stops aplenty!