Highly praised for his adult novels, Sam Thompson turns his hand to writing for children in Wolfstongue, an unsettling, serious fable full of talking animals, hidden places and intriguing ideas. Silas is walking home from school one day when he meets a wolf. Strange enough, but after Silas has helped the animal by removing a pin from its paw, he is accosted by a fox and a talking fox at that. Though Reynard has friendly golden eyes and the kind of voice you want to trust, as is often the case in stories, he’s a dangerous trickster. Like the bullies at school, he taunts Silas, who struggles with speech, and as the adventure unfolds, and the more we learn about Reynard and his fellow foxes, the more wicked they become. Indeed, the wolf Isengrim and his mate Hersent, are on the run, having escaped from the foxes’ underground city where they were kept as slaves. The story is tense and exciting with plenty of tests and challenges for Silas and his wolf friends, but it will set readers thinking too about the nature of power and authority. Deeper still it explores the importance of words and language, how they shape and define our society and our thinking. This is a bold book, beautifully written, a striking and original allegory. Atmospheric double-page illustrations by Anna Tromop make it even more special.
Read our Q&A interview with Sam Thompson.