The three children of Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw, grandchildren of the great leader Firestar, have thrived in their apprenticeships: Lionpaw's strength and energy serve him well as a warrior in training, Hollypaw hones her understanding of the warrior code, and Jaypaw explores his mysterious powers and connection to StarClan as the medicine cat apprentice.
With more experience comes both power and danger: Lionpaw makes a friendship—and a discovery—that must be kept hidden; Jaypaw learns a secret that could benefit ThunderClan by damaging others; and Hollypaw knows something that could avert a battle, if she could convince the rest of her Clan.
The three are torn apart as each discovers darkness: in themselves, in the Clans, and in the past. And, as conflict begins over what it means to be a warrior, rising tensions threaten to overflow, washing away the peace that has existed for many moons.
About the Author
Erin Hunter is inspired by a love of cats and a fascination with the ferocity of the natural world. In addition to having great respect for nature in all its forms, Erin enjoys creating rich mythical explanations for animal behavior. She is also the author of the Seekers, Survivors, and Bravelands series.
Read an Excerpt
Warriors: Power of Three #2: Dark River PLM
"Look out!" Lionpaw lashed his tail. "ShadowClan warriors behind us!"
Hollypaw whipped around, her black pelt standing on end. "I'll take them!"
Lionpaw glanced at his brother. "Scent anything, Jaypaw?"
"More warriors coming!" the gray tabby warned. His blind, blue eyes were round with alarm. "Prepare for attack!"
"We'll ambush them as they come through the camp wall!" Lionpaw ordered. He jerked his head toward Hollypaw. "Can you handle those three?"
"Easy!" Hollypaw rolled onto her back then sprung to her paws, claws glinting in the afternoon sun.
Lionpaw darted forward and crouched behind the prickly wall of thorns. "Quick, Jaypaw! Beside me!"
Jaypaw scooted over and dropped into an attack crouch. "They're coming!"
A tabby warrior trotted through the entrance.
"Now!" Lionpaw screeched. He hurled himself at the warrior. Jaypaw scrambled between the enemy's paws. With a grunt of surprise, the invader tripped and tumbled onto his side. Lionpaw was on him in an instant.
"Enough!" Squirrelflight's sharp mew rang around the small clearing.
Lionpaw stopped pummeling Brambleclaw's back with his hind legs and stared at his mother as she hurried through the gap in the bramble wall. "But we're pretending ShadowClan are attacking!"
Jaypaw skidded to a halt. "We'd almost won!"
Brambleclaw got to his paws, shaking Lionpaw off. "Good ambush," he purred. "But you know you're not meant to be playing here."
Lionpaw slid tothe ground. "It's the only good place to practice a surprise attack," he mewed sulkily. He looked around the half-finished den; its bramble walls jutted out from the side of the warriors' den. Once branches had been pushed over the top to form the roof, an opening would be made to join the old den with the new one.
Hollypaw padded toward them, leaving her imaginary foes behind. "We're not getting in anyone's way," she pointed out. She fluffed out her fur against the wind. Newleaf sunshine had taken the chill from the hollow, but the afternoon had brought with it a breeze from the mountains that reminded Lionpaw that leaf-bare was less than a quarter moon behind them.
"What if every apprentice decided to practice their battle moves here?" Squirrelflight demanded. "The walls would be broken in no time and all Birchfall's and Graystripe's hard work would be wasted."
"We need to expand the warriors' den before you and the other apprentices become warriors," Brambleclaw added. "It's already too crowded."
"Okay, we get the point!" Jaypaw lifted his chin. His fur was ruffled and bits of leaves were sticking out of his pelt.
"Look at you!" Squirrelflight licked Jaypaw roughly between the ears. "You've made yourselves filthy," she scolded, "and we'll be leaving for the Gathering soon."
Lionpaw began to wash the dried leaf-dust from his chest before his mother started on him.
Jaypaw ducked away from Squirrelflight's tongue. "I can wash myself, you know," he complained.
"Leave them be," Brambleclaw meowed to his mate. "I'm sure they'll smarten themselves up before we leave."
"Of course we will," Lionpaw promised. There was no way he was going to let the other Clans see him looking like a hedgehog. This would be the first Gathering the three of them had attended together. "We've been looking forward to this for ages. Haven't we, Jaypaw?"
Jaypaw flicked his tail. "Yeah, right."
Lionpaw flexed his claws. Why did Jaypaw have to be grumpy all the time? This would be his first Gathering ever. He must be looking forward to it. He had missed the last two, once as a punishment and once because his medicine duties had kept him in camp. Lionpaw knew his littermate well enough to know how important it was to be able to do what the other cats did, despite his blindness—and that included going to Gatherings.
"Hurry up! Out of here, before Firestar notices!" Squirrelflight ordered, herding her kits toward the gap in the wall. "Go and find something on the fresh-kill pile. You've a long night ahead."
Lionpaw's tail pricked with excitement at the thought of the Gathering. He could almost smell the pine scents of the island.
But Hollypaw's eyes glittered with worry. "I hope the other Clans don't pick on us again. Do you know if Millie's coming? Perhaps she should stay behind this time."
When Graystripe had returned to the Clan two moons ago, he had brought with him his new mate, Millie, a kittypet whom he had met while the Twolegs held him captive. He had trained her as a warrior and in return she had helped him make the long, perilous journey to the lake in search of his lost Clan. Her kittypet roots made her an easy target for the other Clan's jibes, and she wasn't the only ThunderClan cat who was taunted for not being Clanborn.
"Millie can take care of herself," Squirrelflight pointed out.
"Besides, the contest seemed to have smoothed things over a bit," Brambleclaw added.
"But for how long?" Hollypaw mewed. Lionpaw knew his sister had never been entirely convinced that the daylight Gathering would heal the rifts between the Clans. The four Clans had competed in friendly contests to test their skills, pitting their apprentices against one another in an effort to put aside growing distrust and border tensions. Lionpaw remembered the day for a different reason, though: He and the WindClan apprentice Breezepaw had fallen into an old badger set and nearly suffocated in choking sand before Jaypaw had found them.
"You're always fretting about something," Jaypaw snorted at Hollypaw. "It's like living with an anxious owl."
"Newleaf is here now," Squirrelflight pointed out. "There's more prey running around, so the Clans should be less prickly."
Hollypaw glanced at Jaypaw. "Some cats are still prickly even with a full belly!"
"Hush." Squirrelflight nudged her with her nose. "Go and eat."
"I was only telling the truth!" Hollypaw started forward, but Jaypaw barged past her. She let out a yelp, glaring after Jaypaw, who was already halfway to the medicine den. "He nipped me!"Warriors: Power of Three #2: Dark River PLM. Copyright © by Erin Hunter. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.