Michelle Paver

Michelle Paver portrait image to appear alongside the Michelle Paver biography.

Michelle Paver is a novelist that is best known for the six books that make up The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. She was born in 1960 in Malawi (then known as Nyasaland) to a South African father and a Belgian mother. Her father ran and wrote for the local Nyasaland Times whilst her mother contributed the gossip column.

The Paver family left Africa in 1963 and moved to England. Michelle was educated at Wimbledon and then Lady Margaret's Hall in Oxford where she gained a first in biochemistry. It was while studying at Oxford that she made her first forays into writing children's fantasy books. Although her books were rejected there was sufficient encouragement shown to keep the dream alive.

Following her graduation from Oxford University Michelle Paver qualified as a solicitor and was involved in many high profile scientific litigation cases. She was made a partner is the city law firm after just five years but the feeling that she was not doing what she really wanted to could not be shaken. In 1996, following the death of her father, Michelle took a year sabbatical which involved trips to Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, France and the United States of America. It was here that she wrote a book called Without Clarity.

Open QuoteWell, I never make concessions to the fact that some of the readers are going to be younger than others. I don't believe in using different language, or shrinking away from certain themes, like illness and death. Obviously, you've got to be responsible, and I don't like to linger on violence, or make it gratuitous. There's always got to be a point to it, and it's got to have consequences.Closing Quote

Once back in England and after just one day back in work she realised that she really had had enough and sent the Without Clarity manuscript to a publishers where it was accepted and a publishing contract offered.

It was in 2003 that work began on what was to become the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. The Chronicles would consist of six books and the setting would be a prehistoric time but with the addition of enchantment and fantasy elements. Since a child, Paver had dreamt of running with the wolves in a prehistoric forest.

For inspiration, Paver read Roger Lancelyn Green's tales of Norsemen and the Ancient Egyptians. For the research into wolf behaviour she studied David Mech, Michael Fox and Lois Crisler, renowned wolf researchers. Paver once carried out volunteer work in the Calapathian Mountains and this enabled her to study wildlife in its natural habitat, information that proved vital when constructing The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Michelle Paver had always had a secret dream of writing a story of an orphaned boy surviving alone with his beloved wolf cub and she was able to use notable works such as Boyer's Religion explained and Steve Mitten's Prehistory of the Mind to help form Torak's world.

Inspiration for the Chronicles also came from other sources but it is said that the Mesolithic peoples (Maglemosians, Ertebølle and the Kongemose) of Northern Scandinavia were very influential to Torak's world, as were the Native Americans, the Ainu of Japan, the Sami of Lapland and the Aborigines of Australia.

Official website - http://www.michellepaver.com/

Michelle Paver books reviewed

Bibliography

  • Wolf Brother (2004)
  • Spirit Walker (2005)
  • Soul Eater (2006)
  • Outcast (2007)
  • Oathbreaker(2008)
  • Ghost Hunter (2009)