Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver
Highly recommended for readers 12+. From the opening dramatic scene, Paver sets the pace of her new novel Gods & Warriors. Set in what later became Greece, Paver hurtles the reader into the thick of superstition, rivalry, trust/mistrust, power, violence and intrigue.
Hylas is being pursued by the Crows, dark and merciless warriors, who have already murdered his friend, hunted his little sister Issa away in fear of her life and killed his dog. Himself wounded by one of the Crows' arrows, Hylas stumbles into a chain of events where interconnectedness is so palpable that even a mere goatherd such a himself can recognise it.
This was a historical period where cultures were dominated by superstitious beliefs and constrained by the limitations of a lack of knowledge of life outside their own immediate location. Paver has crafted a story that ironically liberates Hylas from the shackles of his serfdom and ignorance by the very fact of his becoming entangled in events beyond his normal life.
Hylas' relationships, and the exploration of friendship and loyalty are examined closely. As the bond of his childhood association with his friend Teremon, son of the Chieftain, wanes in the light of seeming betrayals, his wary initial contact with Pirra, daughter of the High Priestess deepens, through their mutual perils. Above all, his unique and beautiful relationship with Spirit the dolphin has much to say about true communication, empathy and trust.
Lovers of historical fiction will relish this novel and eagerly await the next chapter of Hylas' story as he continues his search for Issa.