Fire Bringer by Roger Clement-Davies
In a Scotland beset by Norse invaders, the deer–the Herla–are fighting their own war. A tyrannical new lord of the herd has ended the old way, the yearly play of antlers that ensured a change of leadership. At his command is a corps of young stags, scars on their brows and antlers sharpened for the kill, whose mission is complete dominion over the animal world. But Herla lore promises a hero–a fawn with a strange birthmark whose unique bond with all creatures, including man, will ignite an epic battle and free the Herla forever.
In this grand and gripping book, with its echoes of myth, legend, and gospel, David Clement-Davies has created a classic hero tale set in a society that is at once convincingly animal and a sharp reflection of our own.
When I was fourteen, I read Watership Down for the first time and was utterly blown away. There are sentences in that book that still give me chills. I haven’t revisited it for the blog, since the audiobook copy at the local library here is damaged, but I definitely plan to. In the meanwhile, this recommendation, straight from Fandom!Secrets (I love picking up recommendations from secrets that ask “Has anyone else read this book that I love?”), will, hopefully, tide me over until I can get back to it. I didn’t realize it was historical, actually; that should be an interesting slant.
Tessa at From The Bookshelf of T. B. really enjoyed how Clement-Davies used facts about red deer to make the novel seem organic, as well as its epic scope. SäCha1689 at Zeitgeist Reviews enjoyed its realism, especially when it came to moral ambiguity. Publishers Weekly enjoyed it, although they noted that the worldbuilding can make it drag. Christ Winter at his vast website found it “engrossing“.
Fire Bringer was published in the UK in 1999 and in 2000 in the United States.