Equally deft in the realms of science fiction and fantasy adventure, Adrian Tchaikovsky knows how to take you to a place, no matter the setting.
In a world where men can ‘step’ into their inner animal, The Tiger And The Wolf tells the story of Maniye, the lone daughter of her father, the chieftain of a powerful wolf clan. With a torn soul, young Maniye never fits in with her tribe, ultimately going on the run instead of facing humiliation and very possibly death at the hands of her own people. Of course, a chase ensues.
Maniye’s journey takes her across the ‘Crown of the World’, into the unknown and through harsh, unforgiving winters. Tchaikovsky weaves a grand old tale filled with archetypal characters, each befitting their animal form. There is a sense of the thirst for exploration, search for a sense of belonging and a Native American approach to character names and tribal conventions.
In terms of style, the infusion of the classical adventure and almost magical fantasy works to create a unique world that is simultaneously familiar and exotic, even to a seasoned genre reader.
In addition, Tchaikovsky is able to craft individual scenes with vivacity, making for visceral battle scenes and character confrontations littered throughout Maniye’s journey. It makes the rather extensive length well worth the investment.
The real strength of The Tiger And The Wolf , though, lies in the main character herself. Accompanied by a serpent priest and chased by a relentless hunter, Maniye Many Tracks is a fascinating character; layered, strong, torn, constantly developing and hugely empathetic. While some secondary characters tend to steer toward the generic (the father, Akrit, the main culprit therein) or underused (the comical Asmander being one), Maniye and her tireless pursuer, Broken Axe, are inspired creations.
As such, the planned fantasy series building on The Tiger And The Wolf should have plenty more in store.