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Clem Martini [The Crow Chronicles] ...in his own words
the Mob

The Mob is the saga of a crow family, the Kinaars, who are faced with troubled times. When the family converges for the annual Gathering, a mob mounts a revenge attack on a cat — with disastrous consequences. The Gathering should be a time to rejoice. Instead, it becomes a time of fear, danger and uncertainty, when ancient laws and customs are tested. A tribunal passes judgment — the instigator of The Mob, the impulsive and charismatic Kyp, must be punished.Then, just when the Kinaars are divided over The Mob attack, an unexpected blizzard spells more trouble. They desperately need a safe roost. The family splits, leaving the Gathering Tree to seek shelter in forbidden worlds …

The Mob is book one in the trilogy Feather and Bone: The Crow Chronicles, to be followed by The Plague and The Judgment.
--Kids Can Press 2004
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Learning Resource Material

The Plague by Clem Martini

A mysterious plague hits the Kinaar family. Crows lie dead all around the Gathering Tree and the terrified survivors scatter. Sick and alone, Kyp knows only that he must find Kym, who has been captured by humans and taken far to the east.

A crow without a flock flies on only one wing, and Kyp has no one to keep watch or provide warning when danger threatens. But gradually other crows join him in his relentless journey — deep into the heart of a vast and frightful human colony.
--Kids Can Press 2005
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Learning Resource Material

The Judgment

In the third and final book of Feather and Bone: The Crow Chronicls, Kyp and the remains of the flock emerge from their fiery ordeal tattered but alive. Pursued by the vengeful Kuper and his fanatical Collection, the ragged band flees south, outnumbered and exhausted.

They fly through a strange land, where food is scarce and unknown enemies lurk, in search of an elusive haven. This is a time of terrors and dark omens, when crows hunt down fellow crows. The life or death of the deeply divided flock depends on Kyp's decisions. Does he have the wisdom to decide well and grow from hero to mature Chooser? The world of crows is turned upside down in the epic battle that follows his Choice.
--Kids Can Press 2006
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How Crows Changed My Life

Clem MartiniIn 1999 I began working on The Mob, the first of what would become a trilogy of novels entitled "Feather and Bone, The Crow Chronicles". The question people would most often ask when they heard about the project I was researching, was - "Why crows? How could you possibly write about crows?" That's the way they would say it too, with 'crows' in italics, as though even articulating the word was a little distasteful.

Well. Here's how it began.

It was the dawn of a cold spring morning. I was seated next to my youngest daughter, Miranda, and we were waiting for her school bus to arrive. An immense flock of birds cut across the sky, came to rest in a crooked poplar tree, and promptly commenced chattering with one another. Miranda turned to me and remarked that it was just like a family reunion. That got me thinking. What if it was a family reunion?

I mean, what if it was? Literally. Like many humans, I had been conditioned to believe that animals could belong to things like herds and flocks and pods and packs, but animals couldn't possibly have families, and they certainly couldn't hold family reunions. But, why not?

That question folded in nicely with something else I'd been ruminating on, and that was how badly people underestimated crows. Now, I happened to like crows. I always had. I liked the friendly, careless way they hung out with one another, and the rakish way they seemed to relish life, but for some reason, people delighted in hummingbirds, were inspired by swans, found eagles noble, but crows…crows just got on people's nerves. They were too everything. Too noisy. Too aggressive. Too dark. And however many there were, there were always too many of them.

It seemed to me that people had nothing good to say about Crows. In fact, I found that in some places Crows were still trapped or hunted as pests. Today, if you log on to the internet, you'll find a number of web sites devoted to killing crows, and read of people that boast of bagging fifty or sixty at a time.

The more I looked into Crows, though, the more I learned. Rather than being a pest, I found, crows played a major role in controlling pests. A large part of the crow diet consists of bugs, worms, larvae, grasshoppers, mice and moles - all creatures that eat and destroy crops. I found out crows possessed many unrecognized virtues. They were loyal. When a crow puts out a distress call, other crows will show up from miles around to help. When a crow dies, others will gather around and hold vigil. In general, crows mate for life. Far from being "bird brained," crows, I learned, were smart - crows have been witnessed constructing simple tools to fish food out of bottles. By the time I made these various epiphanies, I had commenced work upon my first book, and I had come to love watching crows.

The thing that I began to realize was that everything that is messy and uncontrollable about nature gets up peoples' noses. And crows are absolutely, irrevocably, utterly unruly and completely, completely uncontrollable. As humans continue to strip the world of its last remaining wild spaces, and drive species after species to the brink of extinction, crows have not only been able to survive, but thrive - and you have to believe that there's something to be learned from an animal as canny and resourceful as that.

I began to feel that by observing crows closely it was possible not only to see a different side of crows, but it was possible to glimpse a different and more complicated and resilient aspect of nature. We're trained to appreciate the fast, and the flashy in life, but that can't be the whole story. If you watch crows long enough, and listen to them hard enough, you begin to understand that nature is working with a larger and more subtle palette. So in answer to those who ask how I could write about crows the only answer I've got is, how could I possibly not?


An avid fan of crows, Clem Martini is a man of many talents. An award- winning playwright and screenwriter, he is equally at home writing for adults and young people, whether for live theatre, film or television. He is a three time winner of the Alberta Writer’s Guild Drama Prize, a Governor General Drama Nominee for his anthology “A Three Martini Lunch”, an Associate Artist with the renowned Lunchbox Theatre, and is the current president of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. “Feather and Bone: The Crow Chronicles”, his trilogy of novels for young adults has recently received a thrilling launch with the fall release of the first of that series, “The Mob”. Clem lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his wife and two daughters. An Associate Professor of drama at the University of Calgary, he also volunteers his time teaching drama to troubled youth.