"There is one thing you could do. We'll accept your life in exchange for Tawnypelt's... except that we know you're too weak to sacrifice yourself for her."
Nettle to Rowanclaw in River of Fire, page 224
Below contains in-depth information for chapter seventeen of River of Fire. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
Chapter Number: 17 (of 21)
Page Numbers: 215-229

Chapter description

Violetshine enters SkyClan's camp after a hunting patrol, noting that it's almost deserted. She notices that Yarrowleaf is sleeping, but doesn't see her kits. After checking the nursery and the main clearing, she soon discovers poppy seeds inside the mouse beside the ginger queen. Violetshine remembers when she'd tried to drug Darktail the same way, and how Sleekwhisker had caught and reported her. She comes to the conclusion that the yellow tabby must have drugged her companion, and how she'd seen her heading away during the storm. Shaking the queen awake, Violetshine asks where her kits are, causing Yarrowleaf to panic.
The warrior tries to get her to focus and questions if Sleekwhisker was there. She says they were watching the kits play, and Violetshine questions her further, asking if she'd also brought the mouse. Yarrowleaf confirms this, before asking she if she thinks Sleekwhisker has taken her kits. The queen stating that she wouldn't do that because she's her friend, but Violetshine asks her if she's sure. The warrior prompts that the yellow tom was to Darktail and if it's possible she's working with the other Kin rogues to enact revenge. She starts to wail that Sleekwhisker has her kits and wonders what she intends to do with them.
Rowanclaw and Macgyver come over to see what's making the queen so upset, so Violetshine explains to them that Sleekwhisker had stolen the kits. They all head out of camp where Violetshine picks up the scent trail, confirming that the young cats were with Sleekwhisker. Rowanclaw supposes that she told some story to get them out of the camp, to which Yarrowleaf mews that the kits were eager to get into the forest and would think it okay if Sleekwhisker suggested it. Yarrowleaf wails that she hopes her kits aren't hurt, though Violetshine points out there isn't any fear-scent yet.
The patrol soon picks up Tawnypelt's scent, making the queen think that she's joined up with Sleekwhisker. Rowanclaw denies this, saying that no matter what she thought about her former Clanmates, she'd never hurt kits. The former leader soon stops as he realizes that the trail leads to a Twoleg nest in ShadowClan territory, making a puzzled Macgyver ask if the yellow tabby was taking the kits to Twolegs. Violetshine is surprised to hear this piece of history, thinking that ShadowClan had already been dealing with Darktail by the time she was in their Clan. They soon encounter Jacques, a kittypet who ShadowClan had trouble with before, who agrees to take them to where the kits are being held. As they approach a rocky hollow, Violetshine spots Tawnypelt crouched between Raven and Sleekwhisker and the kits between Nettle's paws. Yarrowleaf rushes over to her kits and gathers them close, and they are comforted by her presence.
Rowanclaw demands to know what's going on and Tawnypelt explains that Sleekwhisker had offered to go hunting with her, but she disappeared and then Jacques and his friend Susan jumped her. The tom comes to the conclusion that Sleekwhisker had then doubled back and stolen Flaxkit and Hopkit, but doesn't know what they want with his mate. Sleekwhisker sneers that Tawnypelt is especially for him, growling that she was miserable growing up in ShadowClan. She continues that many cats she cared for died under the reign of Darktail because Rowanclaw had been a weak leader. The ginger tom admits that all of it is true and that he's paid for it, but Sleekwhisker hisses savagely that it isn't enough. She informs him that she's going to have her revenge through Tawnypelt, by killing her right in front of Rowanclaw.
The tortoiseshell that says that she'd like to see her try, but the yellow tabby assures her that she will, because if anyone moves, the kits will die. Nettle says that Rowanclaw can sacrifice himself for her, and the former leader communicates to Violetshine to get ready. The former leader makes the image of a totally defeated cat and Violetshine sees both the contempt and anticipation in Sleekwhisker's eyes. Moments later, Rowanclaw explodes in an attack on Nettle, leaving the kits unguarded. Tawnypelt and Yarrowleaf grab the kits and race away, getting them to safety.
Sleekwhisker joins the fray by jumping on Rowanclaw from behind. Violetshine and Macgyver fight with the remaining rogues, preventing them from giving chase to the kits. The battle turns in favour of the Clan cats, and the kittypets quickly retreat. Sleekwhisker and Raven flee into the undergrowth, and Violetshine yowls at them to never come back because they have betrayed the Clans for the last time. At the end of the fight, Nettle lies dead in a pool of blood. Violetshine stands close by as Tawnypelt races past her to sit with Rowanclaw, who has a fatal throat injury. She begs him to stay, but he reassures her that he'll be okay, and that Tigerheart is returning. He takes responsibility for destroying ShadowClan, and then dies.
Tawnypelt is shocked, thinking that he'll come back, due to the lives he'd received as Clan leader. However, Rowanclaw does not revive, and Violetshine nudges the she-cat away from his body. She says they need to get it back to camp for a vigil, but that he died like a leader. Macgyver pads up, asking Tawnypelt if she'll lead ShadowClan now. She stares at him, saying that she won't without Rowanclaw, and that her Clan is dead.






Sleekwhisker: "Now I'm going to have my revenge, because I've taken the thing you love most—Tawnypelt!"
Rowanclaw: "You may have taken her, but you won't keep her."
Sleekwhisker: "No—I won't keep her. I'm going to kill her. And you're going to watch."
Tawnypelt: "I'd like to see you try!"
Sleekwhisker: "Oh, I'll do more than try. Because if any cat twitches a whisker, the kits will never see another sunrise."
—Sleekwhisker after she kidnaps Yarrowleaf's kits River of Fire, page 224

Macgyver: "What do you think, Tawnypelt? Will you be able to lead ShadowClan now?"
Tawnypelt: "Not after this. Not without Rowanclaw. ShadowClan is dead."
—Tawnypelt after Rowanclaw's death River of Fire, page 229

Important events


  • Rowanclaw: Blood loss[1]
  • Nettle: Wounds[1]

Notes and references

River of Fire chapters
PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21Bonus Scene
Warriors cliffnotes
The Prophecies Begin Into the WildFire and IceForest of SecretsRising StormA Dangerous PathThe Darkest Hour
The New Prophecy MidnightMoonriseDawnStarlightTwilightSunset
Power of Three The SightDark RiverOutcastEclipseLong ShadowsSunrise
Omen of the Stars The Fourth ApprenticeFading EchoesNight WhispersSign of the MoonThe Forgotten WarriorThe Last Hope
A Vision of Shadows The Apprentice's QuestThunder and ShadowShattered SkyDarkest NightRiver of FireThe Raging Storm
The Broken Code Lost StarsThe Silent ThawVeil of ShadowsDarkness Within
Dawn of the Clans The Sun TrailThunder RisingThe First BattleThe Blazing StarA Forest DividedPath of Stars
Super Editions Firestar's QuestBluestar's ProphecySkyClan's DestinyCrookedstar's PromiseYellowfang's SecretTallstar's RevengeBramblestar's StormMoth Flight's VisionHawkwing's JourneyTigerheart's ShadowCrowfeather's TrialSquirrelflight's HopeGraystripe's Vow
Field Guides Secrets of the ClansCats of the ClansCode of the ClansBattles of the ClansThe Ultimate Guide
Graystripe's Adventure The Lost WarriorWarrior's RefugeWarrior's Return
Stand-alone Manga The Rise of Scourge
Tigerstar and Sasha Into the WoodsEscape from the ForestReturn to the Clans
Ravenpaw's Path Shattered PeaceA Clan in NeedThe Heart of a Warrior
SkyClan and the Stranger The RescueBeyond the CodeAfter the Flood
Short Stories and Plays After Sunset: We Need to TalkAfter Sunset: The Right Choice?Brightspirit's MercySpottedleaf's Honest AnswerThe Clans DecideThe Elders' Concern
Novellas Hollyleaf's StoryMistystar's OmenCloudstar's JourneyTigerclaw's FuryLeafpool's WishDovewing's SilenceMapleshade's VengeanceGoosefeather's CurseRavenpaw's FarewellSpottedleaf's HeartPinestar's ChoiceThunderstar's EchoRedtail's DebtTawnypelt's ClanShadowstar's LifePebbleshine's KitsTree's RootsMothwing's Secret
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