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Into the Wild: Warriors #1    by Erin Hunter order for
Into the Wild
by Erin Hunter
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The story opens on clans of wild cats fighting over scarce resources and a StarClan prophecy that 'Fire alone can save' the ThunderClan. Then we meet young Rusty, a 'kittypet' who hungers for the Wild from his home with Twolegs. When he ventures into the woods, he meets Graypaw, just beginning his training to be a ThunderClan warrior.

Rusty also meets Clan leader Bluestar, who likes what she sees and invites him to join them before he is sent to the Cutter. She takes the kitten as her own apprentice and names him Firepaw. He learns what it is to live in a community of his own kind, to 'share tongues' with the others, and to do his share of hunting for the elderly and the kits. He also learns of the 'tribe of heavenly warriors that watches over all Clan cats', the StarClan.

Firepaw fights and then saves Yellowfang, an old healer exiled from her own ShadowClan. Then, at the monthly Gathering of Clans, they learn that ShadowClan has driven away WindClan and demands hunting rights from the others. Firepaw learns of a betrayal within his own adopted Clan and journeys with Bluestar across the Thunderpath to consult the StarClan at Moonstone. He helps to save newborn kits after they are kidnapped by the enemy and learns that Bluestar has used up seven of her nine lives.

It's a suspenseful ending after Firepaw (who is a thinker as well as a fighter) and his friend Graypaw are named full Clan Warriors, with a traitor still unmasked in the heart of the ThunderClan. What will happen next and what does the prophecy mean? We'll have to read episode 2, Fire and Ice, to find answers. Enjoy this series but be warned, you won't look at your own kitty again without wondering about the warrior inside every house cat.

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