The Whispering Stones
Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Davide Ortu
Maverick Arts Publishing
Following on from The Stolen Spear, Wolf is back in his village and now knows that he wants to become a healer like Moon, the current village shaman.
It’s Moon he confides in and the healer is encouraging, offering to become his guide and teacher. Not so however Moon’s son, Rain, who considers it his right to assist and follow his father.
First Moon asks Wolf to accompany him to return the spear from the first story to its rightful owner, now a skeleton in the House of the Dead. Therein he receives a gift. It’s the bird-skull amulet that once hung around the dead healer’s neck.
This amulet gives Wolf seeing-dreams – visions that are not always what they first appear so Moon tells the lad, and if wrongly interpreted could have fatal consequences. A warning to heed if ever there was one.
Then Moon invites Wolf to go with him to a secret shaman ceremony in honour of the Time of Wolf Moon, further infuriating Rain.
During the ceremony Moon is poisoned after drinking from the bowl he’d given to Wolf and inevitably the boy is blamed.
In order to clear his name and save his mentor’s life, Wolf must take the shaman with him and search for a cure. It’s a journey that is long, hard and dangerous, taking them far from their island home
to the Whispering Stones.
Once again this is a gripping tale during which its young protagonist narrator learns much about himself, about the importance of choices and their consequences, about acceptance of past mistakes and the ability to learn from them, and about the power of friendship. And the good thing is that the story ends with Wolf, in the company of his trusted friend, Crow, about to embark on another adventure.
This is a historical series that is both exciting and with its Neolithic period setting, unobtrusively imparts some information about the ancient past.
Davide Ortu helps to bring Stone Age atmosphere to the book with his dramatic illustrations and amulet chapter headings.
Particularly recommended as a lower KS2 class read-aloud as well as for individual readers.