Michelle Paver Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born in Malawi; immigrated to England at age three. Education: Oxford University, graduated.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Katherine Tegen Books, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.
Writer. Formerly worked as an attorney specializing in patent litigation.
Gold Award, Parents' Choice List, 2005, for Wolf Brother.
Without Charity (fiction), Corgi (London, England), 2000.
A Place in the Hills (fiction), Corgi (London, England), 2001.
"DAUGHTERS OF EDEN" SERIES; FOR ADULTS
The Shadow Catcher, Corgi (London, England), 2002.
Fever Hill, Bantam (London, England), 2004.
The Serpent's Tooth, 2005
"CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS" SERIES; FOR YOUNG READERS
Wolf Brother, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Spirit Walker, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Soul-Eater, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), in press.
Wolf Brother was released as an audio book, HarperCollins, 2005.
Work in Progress
Three more novels in the "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness" series.
Michelle Paver earned a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University and worked for some time as a lawyer specializing in patent litigation, but she gave up that career to focus on her dream of writing full time. She succeeded in that aim, establishing herself as an author of adult fiction before beginning to write children's books. The British author's love of myth, folklore and history has informed all her writing, such as the "Daughters of Eden" series, set in Jamaica, and the novel A Place in the Hills, set in the Pyrenees mountains.
Paver's children's book series, "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness," is set in northeastern Europe some six thousand years ago, after the end of the last Ice Age. It was a time before agriculture, when people lived as hunter-gatherers. To research her story, the author traveled to remote areas in Finland, living outdoors in primitive conditions. Her dedicated research makes her work vivid and compelling, according to numerous reviewers. Discussing the genesis of the series with Dirk Vander Ploeg in PSI Talk, Paver recalled, "I got the inspiration for the 'Chronicles of Ancient Darkness' [series] one afternoon at home. I was sitting in my garden and the glimmer of an idea suddenly came to me and in a few hours I had mapped out the entire series of six books!"
The first book of the series, Wolf Brother, was inspired by the author's encounter with a bear while she was in Southern California. In the book Torak sees his father fatally attacked by a bear that is possessed by a demon spirit. Torak's father commands him to take up a quest to the Mountain of the World Spirit, the only force that can defeat the demon bear. Joined on this journey by an orphaned wolf pup that is also his spirit guide, Torak comes to realize that he is the Listener, destined to hold back the evil Shadow from overrunning the land. Booklist reviewer Sally Estes described the book as "fantasy adventure on a grand scale," and also praised Paver's characterizations and well-realized wilderness setting. Kliatt reviewer Michele Winship observed that "Paver has done her research and done it well," giving her book a firm archaeological foundation with insights into the lives of hunter-gatherer societies such as the Inuits, many African tribes, and Native Americans.
Wolf Brother won more praise from Karen T. Bilton, a reviewer for School Library Journal, who noted that the book immerses readers in spirituality and mysticism in a way that is unusual in a children's book, doing so in a way that is "intriguing and believable." Wolf Brother was recommended by a Publishers Weekly writer, who described it as "part riveting nature story, part rite of passage saga," and added that the complex plot "remains involving thanks to Paver's unusual setting and eccentric characters,"
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Sally Estes, review of Wolf Brother, p. 1185.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Wolf Brother, p. 124.
Kliatt, March, 2005, Michele Winship, review of Wolf Brother, p. 15.
MBR Bookwatch, May, 2005, Vicki Arkoff, review of Wolf Brother.
Publishers Weekly, January 10, 2005, review of Wolf Brother, p. 57.
School Library Journal, February, 2005, Karen T. Bilton, review of Wolf Brother, p. 140.
Michelle Paver Home Page, http://www.michellepaver.com (September 1, 2005).
PSI Talk, http://www.psitalk.com/ (September 1, 2005), Dirk Vander Ploeg, interview with Michelle Paver.