I have always loved reading. It feels that I have always read fairy tales and other short stories. We did not have many books at home when I was a child but I loved going to the library to escape to enchanted realms and set off on grand adventures.
Today, I found myself wondering when I progressed from short stories to straight novels. I remember that it was when I was 11 years old when Mum bought me my first novel: The Wolf King by Ann Turnbull. The book is set in Bronze Age Britain. The protagonist is Coll of the Wolf Clan whose tribe is under attack by the Wolf King, a masked horseman dressed all in black, and his army of wolves. Coll’s brother Ruadh’s inadvertent killing of a wolf has fueled his tribe’s feud with the wolves and when Ruadh disappears, Coll sets out with friend Gayla to find him.
I don’t remember exactly how many pages The Wolf King had but it was certainly much longer than your average fairy tale. I worried that I might not be able to finish it. Would I find it difficult to understand? Would I know the meaning of all the words?
I did struggle in some parts. English wasn’t my first language and my English vocabulary wasn’t very extensive when I was 11. But I persevered and I felt very proud indeed when I reached the final page. Reading a whole novel was my biggest accomplishment to date!
The Wolf King is sadly now out of print but I credit it for giving me a thirst for more novels. I’ve now set myself a new mission: to find a copy and read it again.