The Sight by David Clement-Davies;
Dutton Books: New York, 2002; $21.99
When I sat down to read The Sight, I was expecting a predictable good-against-evil, weak-against-strong, love-against-hate type story. Boy, was I wrong. As a writer, I find the greatest challenge in writing stories is developing a plot that is unpredictable, unique, and fraught with problems for the characters in order to leave the readers wondering what happens next. This is clearly not a problem for David Clement-Davies, the author of The Sight. From the opening scene where the alpha wolves Huttser and Palla are searching for a place to den to the poignant and dramatic conclusion, the wolf pack encounters problem after problem. The way that these obstacles are presented does not frustrate the reader: it excites him or her.
Larka, Huttser and Palla's female pup, is the main character of the story. As a well developed character should, she has some trouble dealing with the hardships she encounters. Larka grows and she begins to show signs of having the Sight, a mysterious and rare gift possessed by only a few wolves. Morgra, the villain of the story, is a loner with a dark past. She is one of the few wolves with the Sight. Morgra is determined to take Larka and use her to fulfill an evil prophecy that would change the life of all wolves. If I was Morgra and I was lucky enough to have the amazing gift of the Sight, then I would not waste it on fulfilling evil prophecies. In the story, however, that is Morgra's goal. The wolf pack refuses to admit Morgra into the pack, as any sane human or animal would do. Unfortunately, Morgra curses them.
Palla and Huttser are sure that this so-called curse is not real, until the pack begins to fall apart. The wolf pack faces trial after trial, and eventually only a few wolves remain. As the small pack traverses over icy, barren land, they are forced to walk over the ice, which is thin in some spots. Fell, Larka's brother, falls through the thin ice, and ends up underneath a transparent pane of thick ice. Huttser is forced to watch his son die, literally in his grasp, because the pack is unable to penetrate the ice. I can relate to this situation, because when I got my braces, it was hard for me to play my flute. Songs that had been so easy for me were a struggle to play. In this way, I have had my own goals be very close, but I was temporarily unable to reach them. I was able to play my flute properly very quickly, so the ice separating me from my music was thin. I am sure everyone has come up against an imaginary wall in which the goal or reward is in sight, but getting to it is like trying to get through the thick ice that separated Huttser and Fell. Larka, who blames herself for the pack's corruption, runs away after the loss of her brother, Fell. If I was Larka, I would not blame myself for what was not my fault. I might feel bad if I knew that the root of the pack's problems was Morgra's coveting my gift, but I would also try to understand that I could not help being what I was.
Another brilliant twist in The Sight is the ending. In most stories, the hero or heroine is completely victorious. The Sight includes a dramatic and stunning conclusion that keeps you on the edge of your seat until you read the last gripping words.