Nature is thrown into chaos. A flood has disrupted a balance that was already tenuous, and strange alliances have been formed among the woodland creatures. A small, orphaned fox is in the center of it all, one whose fate and destiny is a major issue among the denizens of the forest.
In the midst of their heated controversy, in jumps a lone wolf, one whose history is clouded in mystery. Frenzy erupts, and sides are chosen, for everyone feels that, with the arrival of this outcast, a shift of power will be inevitable.
Moose sides with Wolf and Bobcat, Deer sides with Coyote, and the birds of the sky are busy spreading gossip to create hard feelings among all concerned. A battle for supremacy is on the brink of starting, when suddenly a new party of animals joins the fray: a strange wolf/coyote mix, wild and desperately cruel. In the way of all despots who truly believe they have won the day before they’ve even started, the “jackals” (as they are known) inform all of the dark history of the wolf and his relationship to themselves. But instead of joining the jackals against the wolf, all of the animals, to a creature, band against them to rid their woods of these horrible hybrids.
Even with so many against so few, the woodland natives are losing ground. It isn’t until the fox cub invokes the Great Spirit that the battle is finally done, and balance returns to the forest. The creatures learn that they really do not want to fight against each other, and promise to live in peace all of their days.
This was a great story, geared toward the middle-school grades. Certainly the book was a diamond in the rough. The publishers state at the very beginning that they were leaving the story unedited, at the author’s request. There are times when the story jumps without warning to another scene, and maybe in places it isn’t clear what creature is talking. But, in this case, somehow it works.
It was written in a way that made me think of tribal stories told around a campfire; one that had a moral behind the fable. In reading it, I could almost feel the warmth of the fire on my face and the cold at my back. The elder is speaking, telling the tale, and I can hear the flames crackling and see the sparks as they rise into the night. The tale weaves its way up with the smoke, and without any effort, the moral also weaves its way into my mind as the elder’s voice mesmerizes his audience: Nature is a force that must be treated gently, or the imbalance will cause great chaos, not just among its creatures, but also among the humans who should be its stewards.