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"And now... now that the five Clans are finally united once more, there will be new challenges. The sky has cleared at last, but the Clans must come together to make the forest grow."
Cinderpelt to Alderheart in River of Fire, page 281

River of Fire is the fifth book in the A Vision of Shadows arc.[4] Rowanclaw is the cat depicted on the left, while Leafstar is the cat depicted on the right.[blog 1] It features Alderheart, Violetshine, and Twigbranch as the main protagonists. Dawnpelt and other StarClan cats are featured in the prologue, while Willowshine is the protagonist in the bonus scene.


Special thanks to Cherith Baldry


Erin Hunter's #1 bestselling Warriors series continues! Discover more epic adventures in the fifth book in this sixth action-packed story arc. Each hardcover also includes a double-sided jacket with a bonus poster!
The forest is free of Darktail and his vicious rogues, and the long-lost SkyClan has returned to its place among the other four warrior Clans. With StarClan's prophecy fulfilled, many cats believe the danger is past. But after moons of division and strife, ShadowClan is in danger of falling apart forever....
With more than twenty-one million copies sold, the Warriors series has been flying off the shelves for fourteen years and counting. A Vision of Shadows is the perfect introduction for readers new to the Warriors world, while existing fans will be thrilled to return to the days of Bramblestar and ThunderClan, after the events of Omen of the Stars.
Each hardcover in the Vision of Shadows series will also include a double-sided jacket with a bonus poster!

Detailed plot description

Looking for a shorter overview? Find one here!

In StarClan, a group of former ShadowClan cats sit by a pool, talking about their sorrow and dismay of the disbanding of ShadowClan. As the cats argue about whose fault it is that ShadowClan was destroyed, Shadowstar jumps in, stopping the argument. She warns them not to pass blame so easily, and says that if ShadowClan isn't saved, the Clans will come to an end, including StarClan itself. Needletail says that they'd better get to work crafting a message to send to the Clan cats.
Twigpaw and Finpaw make their trek to the ThunderClan camp after leaving SkyClan. They encounter Sparkpelt at the border, and she demands to know what's wrong and asks if SkyClan is being attacked. Twigpaw explains that she is going back to ThunderClan and Finpaw is coming along with her, but to her surprise, is harshly told off by Sparkpelt. Twigpaw ultimately convinces her to bring them to the ThunderClan camp so they can speak to Bramblestar. Upon entering camp, many cats are surprised to see the gray apprentice. The ThunderClan leader lets Twigpaw rejoin the Clan, with the provision that she'll continue her apprenticeship, which she is frustrated at, having already completed two apprenticeships. Finpaw declares his wishes to join as well, and after discussion, is allowed in as well. While most cats support the two apprentices, some do not. Bramblestar insists that both have an apprentice ceremony and go through their apprentice training. Much to her dismay, Sparkpelt is assigned as Twigpaw's mentor, whilst Finpaw is given Larksong.
Meanwhile, Violetshine is out in the forest collecting bedding, and asks Tree if he'll help. He says no, and she is annoyed by his laziness; and she also knows that others in the Clan aren't happy with it. Leafstar requests to speak with the yellow tom, and implores that he needs to start contributing. She questions whether the role of a warrior would fit him, but he is unsure. Eventually, he is assigned to try being a medicine cat apprentice for a while because of his ability to summon the dead and possible connection to StarClan. Tree watches as Frecklewish and Puddleshine disagree about how to dry herbs, and the yellow tom tries to make peace between them. Violetshine and Hawkwing meet in the clearing, where Leafstar assigns Rowanclaw to collect bedding at ShadowClan's old camp. Cats protest at such a duty being given to the former leader, but she explains that he knows the territory well. Rowanclaw agrees to it, and Hawkwing, Violetshine, and Tawnypelt go with him. They walk out into the forest, but Violetshine gets nervous as she listens to Rowanclaw and Tawnypelt talk about whether to bring ShadowClan back, and worries about Tree leaving SkyClan.
ThunderClan needs watermint, but is unable to find any by their border with WindClan, as it has all been picked by WindClan. Bramblestar gives his permission, so Alderheart goes and asks RiverClan for watermint with Sparkpelt and Twigpaw. They join with a WindClan patrol, and start to pick herbs at the border. They are confronted by two RiverClan cats, Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt who demand to know what they're doing. Alderheart offers to go to their camp and talk to Mistystar, and they agree. Once they arrive, the medicine cat explains the situation, and Mistystar agrees to let them take the herbs. However, she says that they can't come back, so they quickly gather as much as they can.
Later, Twigpaw is frustrated with her basic training, due to her being taught at the same level as Finpaw. When she returns to camp, there isn't any prey left, so she goes hunting with Finpaw. However, she falls into the border stream, and is rescued by a WindClan patrol. They escort her back to camp and tell Bramblestar, who chastises her. She admits her training issues with Sparkpelt, and also her concerns of the prophecy. The next morning, however, Sparkpelt has fallen ill with bellyache and so Twigpaw trains with Larksong. She later goes back to camp and talks with Lilyheart, who reassures her doubts. Finpaw comes back with his first catch, and he and Twigpaw share it together.
While on a border patrol, Sandynose, Tree and Violetshine discover Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker in ShadowClan's old camp. Yarrowleaf is expecting kits. The two ask where ShadowClan is, and are told that ShadowClan has merged with SkyClan, much to their dismay. They express their desire to rejoin a Clan, so Violetshine and Tree reluctantly bring them to Leafstar. The leader refuses to let them stay as SkyClan cats on the grounds of crimes committed during their time with Darktail. As they're escorted out of camp, many former ShadowClan cats protest, but Tawnypelt silences them. Violetshine feels conflicted about the decision, but Tree comforts that they did the right thing, although he saw a ghost cat walking with them, who Violetshine deduces to be Spikefur.
Later, during the medicine cat half-moon meeting, Willowshine and Mothwing do not attend, since RiverClan has closed its borders. The medicine cats present at the meeting discuss the prophecy, and Alderheart receives a vision from Needletail. He thinks it means nothing, but the other medicine cats report having similar dreams, all from deceased ShadowClan cats. They walk back to camp, still talking about what the prophecy might mean.
Just after the meeting, Twigpaw sneaks to the Moonpool. She waits until every cat leaves, and then touches her nose to the water. Twigpaw receives a vision of a camp burning with fire. Yellowfang finds her, and angrily tells Twigpaw she shouldn't be here, and Twigpaw sprints away in terror. She goes back to camp, and decides not to tell any cat what she saw.
Meanwhile, Leafstar attempts to get Tree to contribute to SkyClan. Violetshine offers to take him hunting, and shows him a hunting crouch. In return, Tree shows her his method of hunting, and she finds it very funny. They see Juniperclaw sneaking around, and follow him to ShadowClan's old camp to that Juniperclaw had been sheltering Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker there. Tree and Violetshine agree that this needs to be reported back at camp. Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker are taken to Leafstar, who is angry that they've returned after banishment. She implores to know who was in on this scheme, and several of the former ShadowClan cats admit they've been helping behind Leafstar's back. They pledge to be loyal to SkyClan from this point forward, but it doesn't seem to affect Leafstar. Tree proposes that the pair be allowed to stay until Yarrowleaf's kits are born and weaned. The leader reluctantly agrees, but puts Tree in charge of them. As the two cats are led away to their dens, Violetshine notices many cats are unhappy with the decision.
At the next Gathering, Leafstar announces that Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker are staying with SkyClan temporarily. Many cats express their discontent, but Bramblestar soothes their concerns, revealing the vision of approaching shadows received by the medicine cats. However, Alderheart feels that they've got the interpretation wrong, and there's a storm coming. Afterwards in camp, Twigpaw asks the medicine cat about the prophecy, and if they should be doing more. He says no, and she is disappointed. She sneaks off to meet with Violetshine, and pitches her idea of talking to a ShadowClan cat to be leader. Twigpaw tells her sister about the vision she received, and Tree approaches. The yellow tom agrees with her statements, and Violetshine says that Tawnypelt might make a good leader for ShadowClan.
Twigpaw suggests they bring the idea to Leafstar, so the three return to SkyClan's camp. They meet with the leader and Hawkwing, and Violetshine explains their plan. Leafstar gets very angry, saying that she's worked very hard to merge the two Clans and doesn't want to have them separated again. She starts to leave, but once Tree calms her down and Frecklewish reminds her of the prophecy, she reluctantly agrees that they can go talk to the ShadowClan cats about getting a leader. However, she insists that the constant changing of SkyClan cats is a waste of resources, so she'll never accept any other cats into SkyClan after this. They leave the den and approach Rowanclaw and Tawnypelt, and Tawnypelt says she might consider it if Puddleshine and StarClan approve. Sleekwhisker and Yarrowleaf overhear and agree as well for ShadowClan to become whole again, and the queen gives birth to her kits, Hopkit and Flaxkit, shortly after.
In ThunderClan, a storm begins to rage outside, and so Briarlight is moved to the tunnels as a precaution. The nursery roof flies off as the storm gets worse, and Alderheart sees a strike of lightning start a fire. Bramblestar sends two warriors to investigate it, and they bring back two kittypets seeking shelter. Their names are Velvet and Fuzzball. The kittypets explain how the fire affected their homes, and Bramblestar agrees that they can stay until it's safe to return back to their housefolk. Alderheart brings them to the medicine den and treats their wounds, and assigns Fuzzball to help Jayfeather, who is ill. Velvet helps Alderheart with some herbs, and he learns more about where she came from. When they go outside to start helping other cats, however, the storm starts again and they dart back inside. A flash of lightning strikes, and another fire starts in the direction of WindClan and RiverClan.
A ThunderClan patrol headed by Bramblestar goes to aid whichever Clan the fire has hit. On their way around the lake, they join some WindClan cats, and can now see that the affected area is RiverClan's camp. While initially hesitant due to the Clan's borders being closed, they decide to assist. The cats work together to make a log bridge, which allows for Mistystar and several of her cats to escape to safety. They thank the rescuers, and the RiverClan leader gathers her surviving cats together. However, Softpaw struggles to cross, so Twigpaw helps her across. The ThunderClan she-cat is burned and falls in the stream when trying to rejoin her Clanmates, and is pulled out by some RiverClan cats.
Meanwhile, in SkyClan's camp, Leafstar orders her cats to bunker down for the storm. The roof of the apprentices' den is blown away, so they're moved to the warriors' den. Tawnypelt challenges her, saying that they must help, going against orders. Hawkwing agrees as well, noting that he wants to check on Twigpaw. Leafstar gives up the argument, putting her deputy in charge. SkyClan sends a patrol to RiverClan, and they meet with Willowshine and Reedwhisker. They recount how much damage has occurred, still in shock from what's happened.
The group of cats meet with Mistystar and the rest of their Clanmates, and Hawkwing offers them shelter in ShadowClan's old camp. They travel back to SkyClan, and once Leafstar is informed of the situation, she agrees as well. RiverClan is escorted away to ShadowClan's old camp, and Mistystar says they are thankful and won't abuse their hospitality. The SkyClan leader then turns to Tawnypelt, insisting that she can't keep undermining her authority. The warrior agrees, though many of her ShadowClan Clanmates are unhappy about this.
At the next Gathering, RiverClan rejoins the other Clans, and requests help to rebuild. Though some cats are wary of the timing, each Clan leader pledges their assistance. Leafstar announces that she has given the role of mediator to Tree, and Bramblestar proposes the yellow tom will be given a trial period, which pleases most cats. Days after, Alderheart peels the poultice off Velvet's wound to find it healed. He visits the nursery to check on the kits, but finds Briarlight is ill and has her moved back to the medicine den. However, even though she is given treatment, the she-cat is dying by morning. Her family is gathered and she says goodbye before passing away. They sit vigil for her through the night, and bury her the next morning. Afterwards, Velvet pushes a tired Alderheart to sleep, saying she'll care for him.
Violetshine enters SkyClan's camp and that Yarrowleaf's kits are missing. She finds that the queen has been drugged with poppy seeds, and both conclude that Sleekwhisker has taken the kits. The two she-cats, along with Rowanclaw and Macgyver, follow the yellow tabby's scent trail through the forest. They meet Jacques, who leads them to where Yarrowleaf's kits and Tawnypelt are. Sleekwhisker holds Rowanclaw responsible for everything bad that happened during Darktail's reign, and announces that she's going to have her revenge by killing Tawnypelt. She says that if anyone tries to stop it, the kits will die. Nettle offers that Rowanclaw can sacrifice himself for his mate, and the former leader agrees, looking pathetic. Moments later, however, he springs up to attack Nettle, screeching to grab the kits. Tawnypelt and Yarrowleaf do so, while Violetshine and Macgyver prevent the rest from giving chase. They are driven off, but Rowanclaw dies as a result of his wounds. Rowanclaw tells Tawnypelt that Tigerheart will return as he has seen him in dreams. When asked if she'll lead ShadowClan, Tawnypelt says no, and that this is the end of her Clan.
Meanwhile, Alderheart and Velvet sit in the medicine den, and Jayfeather says that it's time for the kittypet to move out of the medicine den. They begin to pad over to the apprentices' den, but see Ajax in the clearing. Velvet and Fuzzball greet their kittypet friend, who tells them that they can return to Twolegplace now. Bramblestar says they may stay here the night, and return in the morning. The cats then disperse to eat, and Alderheart shares a mouse with Velvet. Later that night, he can't sleep, and so he and Jayfeather talk outside the den. Alderheart reassures the blind tom that he's not leaving ThunderClan, and is only wondering how to say goodbye to Velvet. The next morning, he says goodbye to the gray kittypet, knowing that it has to be this way.
Twigpaw has her warrior assessment, and catches a large amount of prey in the forest. Her last catch is a rabbit caught with Finpaw's help, which both mentors praise. They head back to camp, and Ivypool and Lilyheart wait to congratulate Twigpaw. She is very happy they came, and is thrilled when she discovers Violetshine and Hawkwing are here as well. Bramblestar holds the warrior ceremonies, naming Twigpaw as Twigbranch, and Finpaw as Finleap. Moment after, Grassheart and Strikestone demanding that Hawkwing come with them, because Tigerheart has come back. The deputy and Violetshine go with them, along with Alderheart. They arrive at Moonpool to see that a group of cats has returned with a dead Tigerheart, some new to the Clans. After a long stretch of time, Puddleshine and a newly named Tigerstar emerge. Leafstar says she won't cross StarClan, but that ShadowClan needs to get off SkyClan's land. The new leader agrees, and leads his cats away.
Alderheart asks if Dovewing will come visit ThunderClan one more time, even if she's staying with ShadowClan now. She agrees, and they go to camp, where she is greeted warmly. Dovewing introduces her kits to Ivypool's, whom are much smaller. However, after expressing that she doesn't intend to stay, the excitement fades, and dims even moreso when she says Tigerstar is the father of her kits. The queen seems sad when Bramblestar says she can't come and visit often, but leaves camp without complaint, with her kits following. The next morning, Alderheart wakes and decides to visit Velvet to return her toy. In Twolegplace, he comes across Fuzzball, who takes him to her den.
Velvet greets him warmly, and gives him a thyme plant in goodwill. They say their final goodbyes, and Alderheart quickly makes his way to the medicine cat half-moon meeting. Jayfeather and Leafpool question where he's been, but he brushes off their concerns, saying he visited Twolegplace. In his Moonpool vision, Cinderpelt appears to him, admitting that she'd loved Firestar, but chose her duty as a medicine cat over it. He murmurs that he understands, but that it's hard. She tells him that ThunderClan needs him for the coming challenges ahead, and that he's a good medicine cat. As the vision fades, he feels content, but wonders what challenge the Clans will have to overcome next.

Bonus Scene

Willowshine crouches in the medicine den, sorting through her herbs. She worries about their watermint supply, knowing Softpaw and Havenpelt need another dose, but that she'll have to delay it. She pads outside, wishing there is more she could do to help her Clanmates. As Willowshine sits in a patch of greenleaf sun, she reflects that with ThunderClan and WindClan suffering from the sickness as well, herb supplies are running low. She also thinks about how Mistystar refuses to reopen the borders, and the tensions in camp. Suddenly, a vision takes over Willowshine, and her surroundings light in fire. She is terrified as she takes in the vision, realizing that the scene before her displayed RiverClan's camp being burnt to ashes.
Willowshine slowly emerges from the vision to find Jayclaw calling to her, his pelt dripping with blood. The medicine cat asks what happened, and he reluctantly admits he fought with Owlnose. She is shocked, but he apologizes, asking for some herbs. Willowshine agrees and goes to fetch them, realizing that the tensions of keeping RiverClan isolated are starting to show. She applies them to his scratches, and he begins to complain about the sting, but cuts himself off and responds that it won't happen again.
Willowshine spots Mothwing return to the medicine den, and meets her outside it. The golden tabby replies that she found several types of herbs, but no watermint. Willowshine sighs, knowing that they'd usually be able to ask other Clans for help in times like this, but RiverClan's closed borders have taken that source of help away. She tells her companion about the fight between Jayclaw and Owlnose, but before she can respond, Curlfeather throws up beside the stream. The warrior walks over to them and apologizes, but they insist there's nothing to be sorry for and make her a nest. Willowshine gives Curlfeather a sprig of watermint, and announces she's going to go and look for more.
As Willowshine pads to the WindClan border, a storm starts brewing. She wonders what it means, and notes that there's no more watermint. The medicine cat is disappointed and walks back to camp. Willowshine returns to camp and tells Mothwing about her vision, but her companion tries to brush it off as a dream. However, the gray she-cat insists that it was real, and questions how she can doubt StarClan exists. They banter back and forth on the subject, but eventually turn to the subject of their dwindling watermint supply. They both hope Mistystar will open the borders soon, and upon hearing a call of distress, rush outside to see Mosspelt collapse.
The next day, Willowshine stands in front of the last sprig of watermint, reflecting on how many cats need it. She asks Mothwing if she should give it to Mosspelt, but the other she-cat hesitates to give it to someone so frail they might not recover. Willowshine is horrified, and the golden tabby apologizes, saying she just wants what is best for the Clan. They both agree to go and talk to Mistystar about their dire situation. Both she-cats implore that the border should be reopened so that they can ask for other Clans' help. Willowshine tells Mistystar about her vision of fire, but the blue-gray leader isn't convinced. As she turns away, she notes that it's too soon for the border to be reopened. The medicine cats try to convince her otherwise, but the leader thinks that this sickness is harmless and will pass. They respectfully leave the den, but on their way back, Willowshine envisions the clearing in flames.
Willowshine watches as a storm rages in camp, sitting next to her mother Mosspelt. She apologizes that she can't help more, but the elder says it's okay. Willowshine promises that she'll find a way, and tells Mothwing she's going to talk to Mistystar again. The golden tabby doesn't think it will work, and watches as her companion pads away. Willowshine enters Mistystar's den and implores that she open the borders. The blue-gray she-cat snaps that no cat tells a leader what to do, and tells her to go back to her duties. Willowshine is furious, and when she gets back to the medicine den, she tells Mothwing that she's going to try the WindClan and ThunderClan border supply.
Mothwing is hesitant, but agrees that they should go together, even without permission, because this is an emergency. Willowshine says she needs to go alone, and her companion reluctantly agrees, but worries about the risk of attack. However, as she pads out of the den, lightning strikes down from the sky and lights a fire in RiverClan's camp. When she jumps on the bank, Willowshine looks down and recognizes the scene of her vision. Cats begin to flee, and Mistystar orders everyone to evacuate. She watches as Mothwing helps sick cats out of the den, and then glances upwards to the lake. Willowshine sees that ThunderClan is coming to help just as Mistystar shoves her from behind. She shows her leader this, and the she-cat stares at them, her eyes softening, knowing the other Clans are still willing to help. Mistystar bounds away, and Willowshine starts helping her other Clanmates. She understands that this disaster is for the best, because it will force RiverClan back into the community of the other Clans.



A compiled list of the errors present in River of Fire can be found here.

Publication history

  • River of Fire (EN), HarperCollins (Hardcover), 10 April 2018[4]
  • River of Fire (EN), HarperCollins (Library), 10 April 2018[4]
  • River of Fire (EN), HarperCollins (e-book), 10 April 2018[4]
  • River of Fire (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 9 April 2019[4]
  • En elv av flammer (NO), Juritzen Jr. (hardcover), 7 May 2018[5]
  • 烈焰焚河 (ZH), MorningStar (paperback), 1 January 2019[6]
  • Tulijoki (FI), Art House (hardcover), 22 April 2022, translated by Nana Sironen[7]
  • Tulijoki (FI), Art House (e-book), 15 June 2022, translated by Nana Sironen[8]


External links

Notes and references

  1. Revealed on the dedication page of River of Fire
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed on the inside right flap of River of Fire
  3. Revealed on Audible.com (backup link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Revealed on HarperCollins.com (backup link)
  5. Revealed on juritzen.no (backup link)
  6. Revealed on MorningStar
  7. Revealed on arthouse.fi and risingshadow.fi
  8. Revealed on arthouse.fi

Author references