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To enter the eye, is to enter the dark! You may find your way out again, Wolf boy; but once you've gone in, you'll never be whole. It'll keep a part of you down there. Down in the dark.
The Walker's warning to Torak, Soul Eater

For the group, see Soul-Eaters.

Soul Eater is the third book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver.


A haunting story of loyalty, loss, and evil
As mid-winter approaches, Torak discovers that the Soul-Eaters have snatched Wolf and taken him to the frozen wilderness of the Far North so that they can sacrifice him. Desperate to rescue Wolf, Torak hatches a perilous plan to infiltrate the Soul-Eater cult, and come face-to-face with the most feared and powerful mages alive. Can Torak save Wolf—and himself?

The praise[]

"Compelling from first page to last." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)[3]
"Packs enough danger and action to hold any young readers' attention." —Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
"Readers will be on the edge of their seats time and again, and definitely eager for the adventures to come." —KLIATT
"Readers will be kept on the edge of their chairs as they follow the struggle of characters who risk their lives every day trying to accomplish a task that seems certain to lead to their death. This is a stirring and thrilling sequel to Wolf Brother and Spirit Walker." —School Library Journal
"Soul Eater is perhaps the most thrilling with a satisfyingly twisty plot and some genuine surprises." —New York Times Book Review


While hunting in winter, Wolf is kidnapped, and Torak and Renn track him to the Far North. He dreams of Soul-Eaters taunting him, and Torak wonders if they were the ones who took Wolf. They encounter the Walker, who claims that three figures stole his fire and took Narik away. He madly claims that they are going to open the Door. After they leave Forest, Torak spirit walks into a raven to try and gauge their surroundings. He flies ahead and finds two figures pulling a sled with Wolf in it, and he recognizes the mark of the Soul-Eaters on their chests. During a blizzard, Inuktiluk of White Fox Clan rescues them from freezing, and he guides them back to his camp on the ice using sled dogs. They briefly survive an encounter with an ice bear. At their camp, the elders warn Torak that he should return to the Forest, for they have seen a vision of him about to strike a wolf, breaking clan law. Renn also had the same dream but kept it a secret from Torak.
Tanugeak, the White Fox Mage, tattoos black zigzags on Renn's wrists. The next morning, Inuktiluk helps them escape by providing supplies and a skinboat for them to reach the Eye of the Viper Mountain as the Walker had warned. When they arrive, Torak and Renn disguise their appearances from the Soul-Eaters, Torak into a White Fox and Renn into a Mountain Hare. They arrive at the mountain entrance, a giant gaping hole with a pillar in the middle resembling an eye. A White Hare boy suddenly arrives with a captured owl, and Renn recognizes him as Akoomik's son who was said to be lost on the ice. The boy explains how he was set to gather an owl as a sacrifice for the Soul Eaters. Sensing a way to rescue Wolf, Torak grabs the bundle and heads inside the cavern. Nef, one of the Soul Eaters, guides him through the tunnels to an underground stone forest, where two other Soul Eaters, Seshru and Thiazzi, are waiting for them. Their leader, the Eagle Owl Mage Eostra, arrives, and Torak is haunted by her power.
Torak learns that his counterpart was helping the Soul Eaters in hopes of becoming one himself, and the Soul Eaters plan to sacrifice nine hunters to open the Door to the Otherworld. Nef makes Torak kill the owl to start their sacrifice, breaking clan law. Renn sneaks into the cavern and learns that the Soul Eaters are planning to kill Torak, the ninth hunter to fulfill their need. She escapes through a very narrow tunnel and is nearly trapped when she manages to squeeze her way through. The Soul Eaters locate the thinnest portion of the cavern that leads to the Otherworld, and Eostra holds up the fire-opal, a bright crimson stone that the demons are attracted to. Torak spirit walks into an ice bear to use its strong sense of smell to find Wolf, but his souls nearly get trapped in the large bear. Out of the cave, Renn locates the Soul Eaters' skinboats and slits their underbellies. She returns through her small tunnel and finds Torak's unresponsive body. While hiding in one of the prisons with an eagle, Renn overhears the Soul Eaters checking in on Torak before leaving him. Torak wakes up and tells Renn about the Soul Eaters' plans to use the fire-opal to control the demons once they open the Door to the Otherworld.
Torak and Renn location Wolf in a separate hollow further away from the other hunters. The Soul Eaters had starved him, and Thiazzi had sent a sickness in his tail that causes Wolf to not recognize his pack brother. Renn realizes they have to cut his tail-tip to heal him, but Torak is unable to do it. He holds Wolf while Renn uses the axe to cut off his tail-tip, and Wolf recovers from the black fog sickness almost immediately. They return to the stone forest to stop the Soul Eaters from opening the Door, but some demons escape. Renn takes the fire-opal, and the Soul-Eaters pursue them. The pair are separated on the ice, with Renn drifting away with the fire-opal. The Soul-Eaters capture Torak, and they realize he's the son of their fellow Soul-Eater, the Wolf Clan Mage. Torak guides them to Renn following Wolf's tracks. Renn's prepared to sacrifice herself to destroy the fire-opal when Torak spirit walks into an ice bear. He's prepared to kill Thiazzi when Wolf stops him, recognizing his pack brother in the ice bear. Nef instead takes the fire-opal and falls through the ice, the demons crawling after her, to repay her debt from Torak's father.
Fin-Kedinn and Inuktiluk find Torak, Renn, and Wolf and they return to the White Fox camp. They later return to the Forest where they celebrate with Boar Clan, Willow Clan, and Otter Clan with a feast. However, Torak slips away, debating on leaving Raven Clan. He tells Renn that he was forced to kill a hunter, but Renn insists there are ways of purifying him and he cannot leave without speaking to Fin-Kedinn. However, Torak is more troubled by the three-pronged fork tattoo that the Soul-Eaters had tattooed on his chest: the mark of the Soul-Eaters. Fin-Kedinn later tells Torak that his father shattered the fire-opal from the Soul-Eaters and caused the Great Fire. Renn concludes that there are three other pieces of the fire-opal. In private, Fin-Kedinn convinces Torak to stay with Raven Clan, though Torak is haunted by his secret tattoo on his chest.


See also[]

Notes and references[]

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series
Wolf Brother (2004)Spirit Walker (2005)Soul Eater (2006)Outcast (2007)Oath Breaker (2008)Ghost Hunter (2009)Viper's Daughter (2020)Skin Taker (2021)Wolfbane (2022)
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Omnibus (volume 1) (2008)Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Omnibus (volume 2) (2011)