The Tiger And The Wolf (Echoes Of The Fall book 1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky (book review)

July 30, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Tiger And The Wolf’ is the first book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s new series, ‘Echoes Of The Fall’. Having thoroughly enjoyed his last series, ‘Shadows Of The Apt’, I was looking forward to seeing how Tchaikovsky tackled a new world and new characters. Add to that one of the most stunning hardback covers, designed by Neil Lang, I’ve seen in a long time. Seriously, go and have a look at the beautiful gold embossed design on the textured black background, and check out the detail on the spine and it was impossible to resist!

TigerAndWolf - sept 2016

‘The Tiger And The Wolf’ is set in a pre-industrial land where different clans can take on different animal forms. Maniye is the daughter of the chief of the Wolf clan and the leader of the Tiger people, their sworn enemies. At the moment, Maniye can change into both animal forms but soon she will have to decide which will be her animal and which one will be cast off and left behind as a childhood memory. One day, in a fit of rebellion, she helps a prisoner escape from the Wolf clan, and this Snake priest, Hesprec, shows her new possibilities as they flee the wrath of the Wolves. Together, they encounter travellers from far off lands, meet new creatures and discover new strengths and become unwilling pawns in the power plays that will surely soon lead to all-out war. As her options dwindle, will Maniye choose to be Tiger or Wolf? Surely, she cannot continue to be both or her soul will rip apart…

The plot of this book is quite hard to summarise as it’s largely a character-driven story rather than having a definite storyline with a beginning, middle and end. These two characters play nicely off each other, one young and naïve, desperate to find her place in the world, the other old and wise, with decades of knowledge and a patience that seems boundless. Hesprec also has an air of mystery about him and it’s quite interesting to follow him through the story and try to figure out what he’s really doing there.

There are a number of other plot strands that follow various other characters, primarily her father, Akrit Stone River, and the two travellers from the south, Asmander and Venater. The characters are all wonderfully portrayed. From the aggressive hatred of Akrit to the calm purposefulness of Asmander and then to the frustrated helplessness of Maniye, they’re all perfectly distinct. The story largely jumps between these three viewpoints, so having such clear individuals really helps to carry the story along and there’s never any confusion about which character you’re currently with.

Once again, I’m really impressed with Tchaikovsky’s world-building. He doesn’t seem to do anything in a half-hearted way and, as with ‘The Shadows Of The Apt’, this is a very full world with history, geography, politics and religion all completely integrated into the story without any tiresome expositions. It really is very well done and opens up so many possibilities for future stories in this world that I can’t even begin to guess where he’ll take us next. I look forward to finding out.

Vinca Russell

July 2016

(pub: Pan Macmillan. 608 page hardback. Price: £18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0230770065)

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Scifi

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