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A Dangerous Path: Warriors #5    by Erin Hunter order for
Dangerous Path
by Erin Hunter
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fireheart has no easy path as Thunderclan's Deputy. His beloved leader Bluestar has been in despair since Tigerclaw's treachery in Forest of Secrets, believing she has been abandoned by StarClan. This view was reinforced in Rising Storm when a forest fire killed their healer and made prey scarce.

Now, as A Dangerous Path opens and Fireheart attends the Gathering on Bluestar's behalf, he dreads bringing back the news that the traitor is now Tigerstar, new leader of ShadowClan. How will Tigerstar exploit this new power? In addition to the fact that Bluestar either refuses to act or reacts dangerously, Fireheart must cope with Tigerclaw's old friends in ThunderClan, with signs of a dog loose in their territory, and with Cinderpelt's dream warning of danger coming, calling 'Pack, pack' and 'Kill, kill.'

Fireheart has to make the kind of hard decisions that define a real leader, and it feels lonely at the top. His actions cause his romance with Sandstorm to take a bumpy course, but he does see two old friends again, and is pleased when his nephew and apprentice Cloudpaw wins his warrior name of Cloudtail. Tension mounts as it becomes increasingly clear that 'there is evil loose in the forest', magnified by danger from their old enemy. Eventually Fireheart must face it ... but, surprisingly, not alone.

Each episode in this series has been better than the last. A Dangerous Path has a thrilling cliffhanger of an ending, which sets the scene for the next book, which will reveal The Darkest Hour for ThunderClan.

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