Code of honor by Erin Hunter
Bravelands series, book 2. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN
(Age: 9-14) Recommended. Themes: African animals. Lions, Baboons, Elephants, Quests, Survival. Code of Honor is the second book in the Bravelands series from the creative Erin Hunter team (Clarissa Hutton and Gillian Philip), well-known for their popular Spirit Animals and Wings of Fire books. The African savannah comes alive with beautiful descriptive imagery, as the forces of nature test the wildlife to their limits. The plot masterfully weaves a tale of murder, treachery and the fight for survival. The interwoven narrative is told from three different viewpoints, Thorn Middleleaf a young baboon, Fearless the lion cub and Sky the elephant.
When the Great Mother elephant who wisely ruled the Bravelands is murdered and her body left in the waterhole, trouble unfolds. As the Great Flock, the Strider elephant herd, Brightforest baboon troop and other animals gather here, all are questioning who is best to take on the leadership. The Great Mother didn't have time to train a successor and pass on the Great Spirit's voice. As the torrential rain pours, Stronghide the rhino steps forward to claim the role.
Sky from the Strider elephant herd slips away with her cousin Moon to search for answers in the Plain of Our Ancestors, taking a fragment of her Great Mother grandmother's tusk along with her.
Meanwhile, the Brightforest baboon troop leader Stinger restructures the group, causing problems which young Thorn realises is really a devious plot to dominate his troop and stir up trouble in the Bravelands. Attacks by the marauding green monkeys and vervet monkeys drives the troop into dangerous paths as they search for shelter.
Titan leader of Titan pride also plans for complete control of the Bravelands by killing a large amount of predators, breaking the code of only killing to survive. Disillusioned and forgotten cub Fearless seeks advice from his friend Stinger the baboon.
Each of the protagonists show courage and resilience as they search for the truth and stand up for what is right. Code of Honor delivers exciting action, high levels of drama, and convincing characters who are multi-dimensional. The savannah setting, the natural environment, the drought and floods and animal habitats are richly and realistically portrayed. The themes are dark, treachery, murder, deceit, destruction and survival, with complex conspiracies and intrigue. The misuse of power and its consequences are an overarching theme. Fans will be keen to read the third novel in the series, after the cliffhanger ending.