In a simple yet suspenseful story, Paulsen continues the journey of Brian, the hero of his Newbery Award-winning Hatchet and two other books. The now 16-year-old, who previously survived in the Canadian wilderness after a terrifying plane crash, returns to the bush and the quiet life he prefers over so-called civilization. Here he can focus on the important things: Brian realized, the narrator assures, “that he was changing constantly as the world around him shifted, as he learned more.” He looks forward to reading Shakespeare and history and to canoeing his way north to visit a native Cree family he knows. Soon, however, Brian encounters a mysteriously injured dog, and his instincts tell him to hurry to his friends, where he finds a ransacked, bloody house—and bear tracks. Brian sets out for revenge, but his encounter with nature is humbling, and his respect for wildlife is inspiring.