The Seer’s Wolf
by Barbara Petrie
Wow. I've never read a young adult book quite like this, but I'm sure there will be readers out there itching for a book which combines human foibles with fantasy.
The Seer’s Wolf follows two families in a rural Canterbury (NZ) community: the Fairnies, well established as farmers – practical, down-to-earth, sensitive – and the Randals, recent arrivals just emigrated from England, who bring a curious lifestyle to the community, keeping to themselves.
Clover Fairnie, the seer of the title, keeps a journal of visions, events and imaginings, and begins noticing more and more of the strange ways of the Randals, her mother, and the young cattle drover. She notices the closeness between Ralph Randal and his eighteen year old daughter Satina, whom he calls Arkie.
Winding through the simple tale are threads of home-made herbal remedies, magic mushrooms, frustrated yearnings, the mauling of stock, floods and rescues, and shocking disasters. The quick ‘tidy-up’ of the ending seemed to leave something vaguely unresolved, but a thorough reading and retracing characters dismisses that.
At the beginning I found Clover’s journal read like something from Enid Blyton, but the author gets a grip on Clover’s voice, her visions come under the author’s control and are more believable.
Ms Petrie’s ‘Note To The Reader’ is almost a spoiler, coming before the Table of Contents. So skip it – go straight to page 11, the first page of the story itself.
Author: Barbara Petrie
Publisher: Bridgidada Press
ISBN: 978-0-473-318154 paperback
Available: as either a pbk or e-book through the publisher's website: www.bridgidada.nz; or from Scorpio Books, Christchurch; PaperPlus, Rangiora; Take Note Kaiapoi; and bookshops New Zealand-wide by request.