The Tiger and the Wolf
By Adrian Tchaikovski
Imagine a world where everyone is a shape-shifter, where people can shift skins as easily as thought. Deer, Boar, Horse, Crocodile. And, battling for supremacy at the icy Crown of the World, the Tiger and the Wolf.
Maniye is a remarkable heroine, conflicted and doubting, but determined and courageous at the same time, facing a conflict within her that she knows could drive her insane. The world is rich with detail, with the clash of cultures though through at every step, from the trade-minded people of the Horse to the savage (Komodo) dragon-pirates of the far south – the interplay between enslaved Dragon Venater and his captor Asmander, a man torn between his loyalty to an unloving father and his desire to do the right thing, is a delight to read.
It’s a novel of shifting perspectives as well as shifting skins, of uncertain alliances and conflicted loyalties, of the fragile bonds between tribe and freedom that can only be stretched so far.
This is a remarkable and unusual coming-of-age novel, the first in a series. I don’t know how Tchaikovsky keeps pulling these out of the bag (three excellent 600-odd page novels in different genres in 18 months, and probably more we don’t know about), but I’m mighty glad he keeps them coming.
Review By Joanne Hall