The concept of ‘rewilding’ has gained increasing publicity and support in recent time. This concept relates to the restoration of natural processes, including the reintroduction of previously native species to areas where they have become extinct in the recent, or distant past.
Numerous publications have looked in detail at the pros and cons of rewilding and considered if the reintroduction of iconic species is indeed possible or ethically correct. These publications are usually scientific, and whilst providing sound discussion, are often fairly inaccessible to those with a casual interest in the subject.
‘Skydance’ bucks this trend and considers the issue through fictional prose. The story is centred around the Muir and Purdey Estates on the Isle of Morvan in Scotland, where a group of hillwalkers spend their weekends ensconced in a bothy in the evenings and walking the hills during the day. The author cleverly introduces various land management issues in Scotland which impact biodiversity into the story of these friends, and evening discussions around the bothy fire enables the discussion of these issues to be explored further.
“Darkness and Wolves are brothers and both bring a chill to the hearts of human belongs from a time our minds have forgotten but our bodies know well – a time not so long, when to stray from the firelight was to walk with death, a time when the cry of the wolf rippled through men’s souls.”
Burns’ casual style and the introduction of complicated issues in a straightforward way enables the reader to obtain a summary understanding of some of the issues that surround rewilding, and wider issues associated with biodiversity.
Although focused on rewilding, the personal stories of the individuals who form the framework of the book is well constructed. For those with an interest in the natural world, or land management practices this is a thoroughly enjoyable tale of friendship, loss and exploration set against the backdrop of the rewilding discussion. Even for those with no interest in this subject it’s an excellent work of fiction; which will keep you turning the pages and, who knows, may ignite a spark of interest in rewilding.
Skaydance is available here, and from all good book retailers,