Wolves of Witchwood by Kate Forsyth
The Impossible Quest, bk 2. Scholastic Press Australia, 2014. ISBN
(Age: 9-12) The Impossible Quest series began with Escape from Wolfhaven Castle in which the main characters are introduced. This title begins where the last book left off so the reader, new to the series is immediately plunged into the action with little background information, though it won't take long to be immersed in the story.
The four main characters, Tom, Quinn, Elanor and Sebastian are on the run after escaping from Lord Mortlake and his army of Bog Men, who they have discovered, is responsible for capturing their home Wolfhaven Castle. With the aid of the Unicorn they liberated from Frostwick Castle, they head deeper and deeper into Witchwood, seeking sanctuary in a grove of Hawthorn trees. There they meet Wilda the witch of Witchwood and seek her help to find the Griffin, one of the other magical creatures essential to the success of their quest.
Escaping Lord Mortlake again, with the help of some of Wilda's magic the children continue their quest, only to meet the wolves of Witchwood and their pack leader and protector, the wild man who had originally warned Tom of the danger to Wolfhaven, Tom's father. With his help they again head off to find the Griffin, not only gaining a feather but a useful assistant in their effort to free Wolfhaven Castle.
Magic and good fortune, suspicion and arguments, danger and daring are all elements of this story. The Bog Men are relentless and disgusting antagonists, Lord and Lady Mortlake are suitably evil and the children, whilst bound together, have their own strengths and weaknesses, characteristics the reader will recognise and empathise with. The magic elements require some leaps of faith, for example Sylvan, the wooden talisman which 'talks' to Quinn albeit in riddles, Wilda's magic and the legendary powers purported to belong to the Unicorn and Griffin's feather, though what would a fantasy story be without a bit of magic.