The Mad Wolf’s Daughter

Written by Diane Magras
Review by Melissa Warren

Drest is the youngest of the Mad Wolf’s six children. While her speed, climbing abilities, and bravery set her apart from her five older brothers, at age twelve she is deemed too young to join her father’s war-band. For weeks at a time, she is left behind while her father and brothers protect villages from the unjust demands of Faintree Castle. However, Drest’s life of combat and survival training abruptly changes when knights raid her home on the Scottish headland.

Armed with her brother’s oversized sword, Drest sets off to rescue her family from Faintree’s prison before their execution. Having never left the headland, she is forced to drag along a young, wounded knight as her captive and guide. While she faces many dangers along the road, it is her family’s past that poses the greatest threat to her as she races to save them.

As Drest battles her way through unforgiving terrain, the author explores the main character’s evolution from child to warrior by including her inner voice, which at first takes the form of her five brothers’ voices. The instructions she hears during her trials range from her favorite brother’s steady comfort to her youngest brother’s vicious taunts. These voices serve her well until the relationships she forms on the road complicate her mission. Her brothers’ voices fade as Drest’s own wily, yet empathic conscience emerges. Inspired by the kindness and wit of her captive, the young knight, Drest finds her code and strength.

This bildungsroman offers a unique perspective on medieval warrior women; it is perfect for young fans of George R. R. Martin’s Arya Stark. I highly recommend this story to any parent who is ready for their child to move out of the Magic Tree House on to new a series of epic adventures.