Wereworld: Rise Of The Wolf

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9780141333397: Wereworld: Rise Of The Wolf

'YOU'RE THE LAST OF THE WEREWOLVES SON. DON'T FIGHT IT . . . CONQUER IT.' When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a vicious beast invades his home, his flesh tears, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms . . . Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan's men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy. Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him - and master the animal within?

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About the Author:

The designer of Bob the Builder, creator of Frankenstein's Cat and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, and the author/illustrator of numerous children's books, Curtis Jobling lives with his family in Cheshire, England. Early work on Aardman's Wallace & Gromit and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks led to him picking up his crayons in 1997 to design the BAFTA winning Bob. The animated series of Frankenstein's Cat, based upon Curtis's book of the same name, picked up the Pulcinella award for Best Children's Show at the 2008 International Cartoons On The Bay festival in Salerno, Italy. His noisy new preschool show, Raa Raa, can be seen on CBeebies, while his original paintings and prints sell in galleries the world over. Although perhaps best known for his work in TV and picture books, Curtis's other love has always been horror and fantasy for an older audience. Wereworld is his first novel. www.curtisjobling.com

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

 

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgements

 

PART I - AUTUMN, COLD COAST

Chapter 1 - PARTING WORDS

Chapter 2 - THE GATHERING STORM

Chapter 3 - THE VISITOR

 

PART II - SPRING, THE DYREWOOD

Chapter 1 - THE STORY BOOK SCOUT

Chapter 2 - THE BEAST AND THE APPRENTICE

Chapter 3 - THE WYLDERMAN’S WORDS

Chapter 4 - FIGHT OR FLIGHT

Chapter 5 - THE DYMLING ROAD

Chapter 6 - CAGED

Chapter 7 - THE HEALER

Chapter 8 - BONFIRES AND BANDITS

 

PART III - THE REDWINE RIVER

Chapter 1 - THE ROAD TO REDMIRE

Chapter 2 - COURT OF THE BOARLORD

Chapter 3 - THE FOX AND THE HOUND

Chapter 4 - PREPARATIONS

Chapter 5 - STRANGLEHOLD

Chapter 6 - FLIGHT ON THE REDWINE

Chapter 7 - KING WERGAR THE WOLF

Chapter 8 - MERMAIDS AND MILITIAMEN

Chapter 9 - THE WOLF REVEALED

 

PART IV - THE WYRMWOOD

Chapter 1 - THE SHAMAN OF THE WYRMWOOD

Chapter 2 - THE MAGISTER

Chapter 3 - LAIR OF THE SERPENT

Chapter 4 - THE ENEMY IN THE MIST

 

PART V - WESTLAND

Chapter 1 - THE BOAR TAKES THE REINS

Chapter 2 - THE DROWNING MAN

Chapter 3 - THE MAELSTROM

Chapter 4 - TALKING TO THE DEPARTED

Chapter 5 - THE CRIMSON SEA

 

PART VI - HIGHCLIFF

Chapter 1 - INTO THE LION’S DEN

Chapter 2 - LORD OF MERCY

Chapter 3 - CONDEMNED

Chapter 4 - DISSENTING DISCUSSIONS

Chapter 5 - THE SWORD OF JUSTICE

Chapter 6 - SACRIFICE

Chapter 7 - UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Chapter 8 - THE FALL OF THE WOLF

Chapter 9 - DREAMS AND DESTINY

 

Teaser chapter

VIKING

Published by Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

 

First published in 2011 by Puffin UK.
This edition published in the United States of America in 2011 by Viking,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group (USA) Inc.

 

Text copyright © Curtis Jobling, 2011 All rights reserved

 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATOLOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA IS AVAILABLE

ISBN: 9781101547793

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

To my pack:

Andrew, Evelyn, Scarlett, and Constance,
and mummy wolf, Emma. We made it!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

THERE ARE A FEW people who’ve played their part in my writing of Wereworld, either knowingly or unwittingly, so it’s only right that I briefly mention them now.

I fell in love with storytelling via a misspent youth engaged in role-playing games, more often than not running the things. Thanks to all the guys I’ve gamed with down the years, in no particular order (and I’m bound to miss someone): “our kid” Mark, Andy J., Big Stu, Doctor Andy, Kinnon, Jesus Joe, Nick, Wayne, and all the gang from art college who stayed up playing Cthulhu when they should have been partying, including Ian, Bru, Ed, Ron, and Sparky B. Of course, my folks thought I was studying when I was at college as opposed to pulling all-night gaming sessions, so I also need to mention the incomparable and always supportive Kath and Mel.

Cheers to Andy Glazebrook for fiddling with my map (I shouldn’t be allowed near PhotoShop), and Jon Hancock, the most passionate (and hairiest) children’s book specialist I’ve ever known. Also thanks to my awesome test-readers who gave me the earliest feedback: Rich Dolan (he’s lost friends with his critiques), Tom Martinek (read between blowing things up 920T_pre.indd vi 29/09/2010 09:16 for ILM), Patricia Brennan (should have been painting puppets), and my darling Emma (be gentle with me!), plus the children of her various Internet weirdo friends who were the target audience. Cheers, chaps!

Thanks to my brilliant agent, John Jarrold, for believing in this crayonboy and taking me on, and a massive debt of giddy thanks to Shannon Park, my editor. Without Shannon’s unwavering belief and constant advice, a great deal of which she sent my way before Puffin even picked this up, Rise of the Wolf may never have happened.

And special thanks to my brothers from another mother—Ian Culbard and Niel Bushnell—who have followed my attempts to break into novel-writing every step of the way, providing varying degrees of support and ridicule when needed (suicidal sheep, anyone?). They even fashioned the spiffing Wereworld teaser trailer between them, with the help of the lovely Tanya Rich and the gang at Qurios.

One last thumbs up to Ian—the man who gave a name to the series: Wereworld. Cheers, buddy!

Curtis, September 2010

PART I

AUTUMN, COLD COAST

1

PARTING WORDS

DREW KNEW THAT there was a predator out there.

He looked out over the barley field, mottled shadows racing across it, and the crops swaying rhythmically as storm clouds flew by overhead. Behind him his father and twin brother continued to load the wagon, backs bent as they hauled sacks of grain onto the wooden boards. A heavy gray shire horse stood harnessed to the front, tugging with its teeth at tufts of grass it found at the base of the tethering post. Drew stood on the roof of the rickety old toolshed, scouring the golden meadow for a telltale sign, of what he wasn’t entirely sure.

“Get your idle bones down off that shed and come and help your brother,” shouted his father. “We need to get this loaded before the rain hits.”

“But Pa, there’s something out there,” Drew called back.

“Either you get yourself down from that thing or I come over and knock you down,” Pa warned, pausing momentarily to glare at his son.

Begrudgingly, Drew searched the barley field with narrowed eyes one last time before jumping down onto the muddy, rutted surface of the farm’s yard.

“I swear you’d rather do anything than a bit of hard work,” muttered his father, hefting a sack up to Trent.

Drew snatched up his own load, struggling for purchase against the rough hemp as he hoisted it up to his brother. Their father returned to the barn to haul out the remaining grain destined for the neighboring market town of Tuckborough.

Tall, broad, blond-haired, and blue-eyed, Trent was the very image of Mack Ferran. Shorter and slighter in build than his brother, with a shock of black hair that tumbled over his finer features, Drew was an exact opposite in all aspects. Though the twins were now on the verge of manhood, Drew knew it would be clear to the most casual observer which of the two had eaten the bigger portions of porridge at the Ferran breakfast table. But, different as they were, they were as close as any brothers could be.

“Don’t mind him,” said Trent, taking the weight of the sack and dragging it across the wooden boards. “He just wants to be off so he can get to market on time.” He slammed the bag down as Drew pulled forward another to the foot of the wagon. Trent rarely had any trouble believing Drew—if his brother said something was amiss when they were in the wild, nine times out often he’d be correct. “What do you reckon it is?” he asked.

Drew paused to glance back at the fields surrounding the Ferran farm. “Can’t say. A wildcat? Dogs maybe? Possibly a wolf?” he guessed.

“At this time of day, so close to the farm? You’re mad, Drew. I’ll grant you it might be wild dogs, but not a wolf.”

Drew knew he wasn’t mad. Trent might have been strong, athletic, and a natural horseman, but he knew little about the wilderness. Drew, on the other hand, was a born outdoorsman and with this came the gift of an innate understanding of the countryside and the creatures within it. Since his first trip out into the fields as a boy with his father, he’d taken to shepherding with an uncanny ease. He found he was completely in tune with the animals, his senses seeming to match theirs. From the smallest field mouse to the largest (and, thankfully, very uncommon) bear, Drew could usually recognize their presence readily, be it from the reaction of the other animals or the tracks and signs they left behind.

But today’s feeling vexed him. Something was out there, watching them, stalking them, but it was unfamiliar. He knew it sounded crazy, but he could pick up the scent of a predator when the air was clear. This had proved invaluable on many an occasion, saving several of the family’s sheep and cattle. Although today was blustery, there was still the faint hint of a creature that was out of place, foreign to these parts. A large animal was out there, looking in, and it irked Drew that he couldn’t figure out what it was, much less spy it.

“You think it’s the thing from last night?” asked Trent.

That was exactly what Drew had been wondering. For the last few nights Drew’s shepherd watch had been unusual. The sheep had not been themselves, and all the while Drew had been consumed by an awful sense of foreboding. Ordinarily the sheep would be very receptive to his commands and calls but, bit by bit, they had become more erratic. This had coincided with the waxing of the moon, which often spooked the animals and had even caused Drew to grow ill with worry. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, the feeling of being stalked by a predator in your own backyard.

Toward the end of last night’s watch he’d gathered and penned the majority of the flock and picked up the stragglers that had wandered farther afield. Only one had remained—the ram, naturally—and it had managed to find its way up onto the bluffs that towered over the coast below. The Ferran farm was situated on a rocky promontory of land that reached out from the Cold Coast into the White Sea, cut off on almost every side by the rock walls that surrounded it. He’d found the ram in a state of panic.

It had bucked and started, throwing its head back in fear. Drew raised his hands, which should have calmed it down, but it had the opposite effect. Shaking its head from side to side, mouth open and gulping at the salty air, the ram had backed up a step. Then another. Pebbles had tumbled over the cliff edge, dislodged by frantic hooves, as it struggled for purchase. One moment it was there, an eye fixed on him in stricken terror, the next it was gone, disappearing off the cliff.

Drew had scrambled the remaining distance to the edge, white-knuckled fingers clutching the earth as he peered over. A hundred feet below, heaped in a broken mass, the sheep lay unmoving, its life dashed away on the sharp rocks.

As the moon shone down Drew had looked about, convinced he wasn’t alone, sure beyond reason that whatever had startled the animal was still nearby. He’d raced home through the sickly moonlight, heart thundering, not stopping until he’d hit the farm’s front door with an almighty crash. Now, on this stormy morning, Drew had the same familiar feeling. He’d be keeping the sheep penned in tonight, close to the farm where he could keep an eye on them.

“Drew!” His father pointed in the direction of the remaining sacks that were lined up outside the heavy timber doors of the barn. “Get a move on. I want to get to Tuckborough while there’s still daylight, lad.” Drew trudged to the barn, speeding up when he caught sight of his father’s glower.

His mother, Tilly, stood on the doorstep of the farmhouse, drying her hands on her apron.

“Try not to be hard on him, Mack,” she said as her husband approached, reaching out and brushing the sweat-soaked hair from his brow. “He’s probably still raw from what happened to that ram.”

He’s still raw?” said Mack incredulously. “It’s not him who has to fork out for another animal. If I don’t get there before noon, the best on show will be gone to some other bidder.” He saw his son dragging the last two sacks across the farmyard to the wagon. “If you tear those sacks, then it’ll come out of your wages, lad!” he shouted.

Tilly had to bite her lip, mother’s instinct telling her to jump in and defend the boy, but she thought better of it. Mack’s mood was bad enough without one of their rows darkening it further.

Drew stopped to throw one of the sacks over his shoulder, looking back to his parents, who stood talking beneath the farmhouse porch. His father was pointing his way, his hooked thumb gesturing, while his mother shook her head. A few choice words to her husband and she walked indoors in annoyance. The boys’ father looked back toward them, shaking his head wearily before following his wife indoors. Drew trudged over to the wagon.

“Are they arguing again?” asked Trent, positioning the final sack and binding them to the timber hoardings with a heavy length of rope.

Drew nodded, aware that the words his parents had exchanged were probably about him. It always seemed to be about him. It felt as though they were keeping something from him, but he didn’t know what.

Times were undoubtedly changing at the farm, and Trent was biding his time before he finally left home to join the military. Under duress, their parents had agreed to their son’s constant badgering to allow him to become a soldier, something he’d wanted to do since childhood. As a matter of routine, their father had trained both his sons in skill at arms from an early age, teaching them things he’d picked up himself a long time ago. Mack was a member of the old king’s Wolfguard, and there were very few places across the continent of Lyssia that he hadn’t visited. With Leop...

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