Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
MacMillan UK - October 8, 1999
Young buck Rannock was born on the night his father was murdered and into a herd of deer where hunger for power has gradually whittled away all that is true and good. He knows that he must escape to survive. Chased by stags, with their fearsome antlers sharpened for the kill, he begins a treacherous journey into the unknown, and ahead of him lies a shocking and formidable search for truth and goodwill in the shadow of the Great Mountain.
One day he will have to return to his home and face his destiny among the deer to fulfill the prophecy that has persistently given them hope: that one day a fawn will be born with the mark of an oak leaf on his forehead and that fawn's courage will lead all the deer to freedom. Filled with passion and a darkness that gradually, through Rannoch's courage in the face of adversity, lifts to reveal an overwhelming feeling of light, Fire Bringer is a tremendous, spirited story that takes the reader deep into the hearts and minds of its characters as they fight for their right to live in peace.
I tried to read The Sight by David Clement-Davies about a year and a half ago and I needed to stop. I found this one recently and decided to give it a shot because I thought it must amount to a slimmer version with the bigger font, shorter standing, and slightly fewer pages.
I was pleasantly surprised. Fire Bringer took a lot of cliche elements (a prophecy, a great evil, a suspicious birthmark that lets everyone know that you're The Chosen One), but it didn't seem that horrible to me. It wasn't that amazing either; it was just good. Some of the chapters were misnomers, as what was covered in that chapter was only in the first few pages, but that's only a minor gripe.
One good thing is that Clement-Davies isn't afraid of killing deer off. In most books, you know that nobody is really in danger because the author would never even think of killing them off; George R. R. Martin, Erin Hunter, and now David Clement-Davies will let anyone die who you think just HAS to be safe.
I reiterate: the story reuses many old literature tropes, and though it doesn't turn them on their heads, it isn't bad either. The result is something familiar and bland, but it's better than new and terrible.