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Literature: Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans
"Our home cannot support us all. But there is another place for some of us, full of sunlight and warmth and prey for all seasons. I have seen it in my dreams. I believe in my heart that these mountains are not where every cat belongs. The other place is waiting for those of you who are brave enough to make the journey."
Stoneteller (Half Moon)

Follow the trail of the rising sun.

Dawn of the Clans is the fifth arc of the popular Warrior Cats series, after the Omen of the Stars arc. Beginning in 2013, it tells the tale of the origins and early days of the Warrior Clans, when the Warrior Code had yet to be created, and the Clan founders still ruled.

As usual, the arc will have six books:

  1. The Sun Trail (March 5, 2013) (Cherith Baldry)
  2. Thunder Rising (November 5 2013) (Cherith Baldry)
  3. The First Battle (April 8, 2014) (Kate Cary)
  4. The Blazing Star (November 4, 2014) (Cherith Baldry)
  5. A Forest Divided (April 7, 2015)
  6. To be announced

In addition, Mothflight's Vision, the 2015 Super Edition will take place in this timeline and star Mothflight, the first medicine cat. The Dawn of the Clans characters are also featured in Warriors: The Ultimate Guide.

The story of the series focuses on a group of cats known as the Followers of the Sun Trail. Originally members of what would become the Tribe of Rushing Water, these sixteen cats set off from their mountain home to find a new place to live when it became clear that there wasn't enough food to support everyone. The outside world comes as a shock to cats that have spent their whole lives in the mountains, and they are forced to adapt to it on their journey. Eventually, they encounter a seemingly idyllic forest. However, their arrival causes tensions to rise with the forest cats, and they are soon thrust into a conflict far beyond anything the forest has ever known.

The series stars many legendary cats from the past, such as Graywing the Wise, Clear Sky, Tall Shadow, Thunder, Wind Runner, River Ripple, and many others.


This series provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • This is the first time in the main series that the other Clans will have a role equal to ThunderClan.note 
    • The Bonus Scenes provide this, giving a minor character in the books some time in the spotlight. In The Sun Trail, Petal is the one getting some love. In Thunder Rising, River Ripple is star.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: At one point in The Sun Trail, foxes launch an attack on the moor home of the Followers of the Sun Trail and a large battle ensues.
  • Anyone Can Die: After Power of Three and Omen of the Stars flip-flopped with this, The Sun Trail brings it back full force with the deaths of Bright Stream, Shaded Moss, and Storm, all of them being major characters. Thunder Rising kept this going, killing off Moon Shadow, Misty, and Bumble.
  • Arc Words: "Follow the trail of the rising sun" in The Sun Trail.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The Clan Founders, minor characters who appeared briefly in Long Shadows and were mentioned in the lore, have become major characters in this series. Thunder and Clear Sky even become point of view characters, while Wind Runner and River Ripple have Bonus Scenes that star them and reveal their backstories.
    • The original medicine cats (Cloudspots, Dapplepelt, Pebbleheart, and Mothflight) were all minor characters mentioned in Secrets of the Clans. Here, they are important supporting characters, and Mothflight is even getting her own Super Edition.
    • Lightning Tail, mentioned all of once in Secrets of the Clans, appears as a supporting character in Thunder Rising, before becoming a major character in The First Battle.
  • Badass Crew: The Followers of the Sun Trail are an awesome group that combine many skills that will be possessed by the Clan cats in the future. And one of their first actions? Fighting four eagles and scaring three of them away by taking one down, something most tribe cats deem impossible.
  • Blatant Lies: Clear Sky after he attacks Falling Feather for criticising his leadership.
    "Everything I do, I do for all of us."
  • Breaking the Fellowship: About two thirds of the way through The Sun Trail, Clear Sky, Quick Water, Moon Shadow, Falling Feather, and Jagged Peak leave the group in the moor to live in the forest. Later, Turtle Tail leaves to become a kittypet.
  • Bring Help Back: The climax of The First Battle begins with Clear Sky and his group trapping Gray Wing, Tall Shadow, and Jackdaw's Cry on the Great Rock at the Four Trees. Thunder, who was also trapped but managed to escape, has to race back to the moor so that he can get cats to come back and save the others.
  • Call Back:
    • Lion's Roar mentions his mother Shy Fawn and how the Tribe used to live by a lake, referencing both Long Shadows and Sign of the Moon.
    • Lion's Roar also insists on calling Stoneteller "Half Moon".
    • Stoneteller mentions Jay's Wing, referencing the time she spent with him.
  • Cast Herd: So far, the characters are split up into the Moor Group (cats settled in the moor), the Forest Group (a group of cats living in the forest together), the Cats of the River (a small group of cats living by the river led by River Ripple), and the Tribe (the cats who remained in the mountains). Of the course, the cats around the forest will eventually become the Clans.
  • Character Magnetic Team:
    • The Forest Group continually attracts new characters. During The Sun Trail, in addition to the founding members, Leaf, Petal, Fox, Frost, and Storm join it. In Thunder Rising, it also gains new members in the form of Nettle, Fircone, Alder, Birch, and Thunder. Of course, it loses members just as quickly, since when their leader Clear Sky isn't alienating members, he's kicking them out.
    • The Moor Group as well, but to a far lesser extent. Wind, Gorse, and Thunder join up with it, and new kits are frequently born.
  • Chase Scene: Near the end of The First Battle, Gray Wind, Tall Shadow, and Jackdaw's Cry at trapped on the Great Rock and surrounded by Clear Sky's hostile cats. Thunder has to race back to the moor to get help, but some of Clear Sky's cats chase after him to stop him. This leads to a chase through the forest, across the moor, and through the tunnels, where Thunder has to evade the other cats with all his Heroic Resolve and ingenuity.
  • Continuity Nod: The Followers of the Sun Trail pass by Mothermouth, but none of them enter it. This is because Mothflight will one day be the first cat down there, leading to the discovery of the Moonstone.
  • Crash into Hello: Gray Wing first meets Wind and Gorse when they all crash into each other on the moor.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Wind acts coldly towards Gray Wing at first, but ends up warming up to him and the other Followers of the Sun Trail.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • In The Sun Trail, Stoneteller/Half Moon declares a cat named Shaded Moss the leader of the Followers of the Sun Trail. Since we never heard about him as a major power in any of the field guides, his death shortly before the group reaches the new territories doesn't come as much of a surprise.
    • Word of God has actually caused a Foregone Conclusion of a character living to turn into one of these. It is most definitely a spoiler, as it hasn't happened in the books yet. Fans initially assumed that Gray Wing would survive the series, given that he has to live past Wind and Gorse to become the WindClan leader Graywing the Wise. However, Vicky revealed on her Facebook that Graywing the Wise was the leader of Proto WindClan, the cats in the moor before the Clans came about. This means that something will almost certainly happen to him, given that Wind is going to become the leader of the moor. invoked
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • Stoneteller has a dream/vision that tells her that some of the Tribe have to leave to find a new home.
    • Pebble Heart has several prophetic dreams, such as a vision where he walks towards the Moonstone, a huge battle with Clear Sky in the center of it, and a "bad thing" at the edge of the forest.
  • Expy: Several characters are rather obvious shout outs to characters from the earlier books.
    • Bright Stream for Spottedleaf. She is made of purity, is Clear Sky's love interest, and tragically dies in the first book.
    • Jagged Peak for Cinderpelt. Energetic apprentice to the main character who ends up with a broken leg? Yep, that's him.
    • Tall Shadow's intelligence, appearance, and cunning make her seem a lot like Hollyleaf.
    • Moon Shadow is a mix between Berrynose (because of his arrogance and hot blooded nature) and Crowfeather (because of his behaviour towards she-cats). It's as awesome as it sounds.
    • Gorse is fairly similar to Graystripe, with his love of food and adorkableness.
  • Find the Cure: According to the blurb of The Blazing Star, it will be about the newly formed Clans trying to handle an outbreak of disease.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Bright Stream's death happens early on in The Sun Trail, but is a pretty big twist and defines much of the book. Also, one of the largest spoilers for The Sun Trail is that Clear Sky is the antagonist, but that will be one for the series as a whole, almost certainly.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Unless serious Retcon applies, anyone who's read the other Warriors books knows certain things about the plot: Lightningtail never becomes ThunderClan's leader, Tall Shadow is the first of the founders to die, Wind gets together with Gorsefur, who later becomes the second ever leader of WindClan. And on and on...
  • Foreshadowing: Thunder Rising has hints of the events The First Battle, with Pebble Heart having a dream about a massive battle with Clear Sky at the heart of it.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: It's a whole series about them. Sure, they haven't done it by The Sun Trail, but Thunder, Wind, Tall Shadow, Clear Sky, and River (when he finally shows up) will go on to found the Clans seen in the rest of the series.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Eight toms and eight she-cats form the Followers of the Sun Trail. Later in The Sun Trail, this is still the case, even with deaths. One tom and one she-cat die, keeping the number even.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Thunder Rising basically has this all around. On one side, we have Tall Shadow, who refuses to adjust her worldview to forest life and makes some terrible decisions. On another, we have Clear Sky, who just wants to protect his group and create a better life for the cats of the forest, but is becoming increasing unhinged and violent, and is also perfectly willing to send cats that he deems unable to continue to the group to their deaths. Then we have Wind Runner, who sees how cats are getting screwed over by the changing community, but responds by warmongering. And that's not even beginning to get into the other groups around the forest.
  • It's All My Fault: Gray Wing and Clear Sky both blame themselves for Bright Stream's death. Gray Wing eventually manages to move on, but Clear Sky never lets go of the guilt.
  • Jumped at the Call: Clear Sky is very eager to go on the journey to find a new home. He takes this to the point of jerkassistude, forcing his Love Interest Bright Stream to go unless she wants to be separated from him.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • In The Sun Trail, two of Storm's kits die offscreen before Gray Wing can get to them.
    • In Thunder Rising, Moon Shadow succumbs to his wounds and dies offscreen. However, the scene where he gets those wounds, and his funeral, are both onscreen events.
    • In The First Battle, Turtle Tail is hit by a car and dies offscreen. Thunder and Lightning Tail find her dead body sometime later.
    • Also in The First Battle, Wind Runner's son Emberkit dies offscreen.
    • At the end of The First Battle, after the battle ends, Lightning Tail and Acorn Fur find Hawk Swoop dead.
  • Last Episode New Character:
    • We don't meet Thunder until the last chapter of The Sun Trail, but oh boy is he important to the book.
    • Fircone and Nettle aren't introduced until the last chapter of Thunder Rising. However, they're important due to convincing Thunder to confront Clear Sky.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The existence of Lion's Roar and Half Moon being the first Stoneteller are big twists in Sign of the Moon. The prologue of The Sun Trail casually reveals them to the reader, and if you haven't read Power of Three and Omen of the Stars, you probably wouldn't even realize they were spoilers.
  • The Leader: There are plenty of leaders and future leaders in The Sun Trail.
    • Half Moon/Stoneteller from Power of Three and Omen of the Stars still leads the Tribe.
    • Shaded Moss is named the leader of the crew setting out to find a new home. After his death, Tall Shadow leads it.
    • The forest group in The Sun Trail is led by Clear Sky.
    • Thunder, Wind, Gorse, Tall Shadow, Clear Sky, River Ripple, and Owl Eyes will go on to be Clan leaders.
    • As of Thunder Rising, Gray Wing has become joint leader of proto-WindClan alongside Tall Shadow.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Inverted. The Sun Trail is about the founders of the Clans before they were legends, so it's more like "unlegendary in the prequel". So far, we have seen every Clan founder, as well as many other legendary cats like Graywing the Wise, Pebbleheart, Owleyes, and Gorsestar.
  • Look Both Ways:
    • In The Sun Trail, Shaded Moss accidentally runs onto the road, resulting in his death when he is hit by a car.
    • In The First Battle, Turtle Tail gets hit by a car in the Twolegplace and dies.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Turtle Tail loves Gray Wing, who loves Storm, who loves Clear Sky, who loves Storm, and also probably still his first love Bright Stream. Now that Storm is dead, Gray Wing will most likely get together with Turtle Tail.
  • Meaningful Funeral: It's a Tribe custom. One is held for Fluttering Bird when she dies, and the Followers of the Sun Trail later hold a funeral for Shaded Moss.
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • In Thunder Rising, to show their connection to the Followers of the Sun Trail, Wind and Gorse change their names to Wind Runner and Gorse Fur.
    • In the Bonus Scene of Thunder Rising, it's revealed that River Ripple's name was once Ripple, but he changed it to show how he had become a Cat of the River.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard:
    • In The Sun Trail, Shaded Moss, leader of and mentor to the other Followers of the Sun Trail dies shortly before they reach their new home.
    • Subverted in the Bonus Scene of Thunder Rising. It looks like Arc is going to die, since we never heard anything about him in the main story, but it turns out that River Ripple just gets separated from him.
  • The Migration: The Sun Trail is about a group of cats leaving the mountains to move to the forest.
  • Milestone Celebration: The prologue of The Sun Trail was released early as part of the tenth anniversary of Warriors. The Sun Trail is also the 25th main series novel, the 50th Warriors booknote , and was released about a month after the date of the tenth anniversary. As well, Thunder Rising and Warriors: The Ultimate Guide were co-released and essentially were the 10th Anniversary milestone books.
  • Mutual Kill: In The First Battle, during the Great Battle, Jackdaw's Cry and Falling Feather fight and end up killing each other.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Storm calls Gray Wing "Gray Whatsit", which is the name that Rusty gave to Graypaw when they first met in Into the Wild.
    • Remember the mountain hunting skills that Gray Wing showed to Jagged Peak? Those were first shown in Battles of the Clans as WindClan battle strategies invented by Gray Wing himself. It looks like we know where he got them.
    • Turtle Tail scares Bumble by telling her that she eats bones. This is obviously meant to be a joke about how kittypets view Clan cats.
    • Gray Wing and Gorse meet when they crash into each other and then start to fight. This is the reverse of how Firestar and Graystripe met: they started fighting, but when Graystripe crashed into Firestar they stopped fighting and became friends.
    • Part of Clear Sky's situation in The Sun Trail is one. The pure-hearted tortoiseshell she-cat that he loves dies, causing him great pain, but he eventually gets together with a spunky cat named Storm? Now where have we heard that one before?
    • The cover of The First Battle obviously references A Dangerous Path with its shot of two lines of cats preparing for a fight.
  • Never Found the Body: In The Sun Trail, the Followers of the Sun Trail don't find Bright Stream's body after she is carried off by an eagle, leading to some potential ambiguity over her death. However, at the end of The First Battle, Bright Stream appears as a ghost, confirming her death.
  • No Antagonist: The majority of The Sun Trail is about the cats moving and settling into a new home, with no real villain. However, subverted when the ending sets up Clear Sky as an antagonist.
  • No Name Given:
    • As they approach Highstones, the Followers of the Sun Trail meet a long-legged brown and gray tabby tom. He talks with them for a bit, but never gives his name.
    • At the end of The Sun Trail, Storm has three kits. She named them, but we never learn their names. This is used as a plot point. Since Gray Wing doesn't have a name to call the survivor, and he doesn't remember it, Turtle Tail names him Thunder.
    • Nightheart's brother is introduced in Thunder Rising, but not named.
    • In The First Battle, Wind Runner has four kits. However, of her three sons only one of them has their name revealed (Emberkit), and her daughter's name (Moth Flight) is only known because of The Ultimate Guide.
  • Once an Episode: All of the prologues so far feature some sort of dream or vision. The Sun Trail has Stoneteller's vision of another place where some Tribe cats can live. Thunder Rising has Thunder meeting his deceased mother Storm in a dream. The First Battle has Gray Wing seeing Stoneteller again in a dream.
  • Origins Episode:
    • The series shows us the origins of the Clans.
    • As well, the Bonus Scenes of The Sun Trail and Thunder Rising reveal the origins of Petal and River Ripple respectively.
  • Prequel: This series takes place before any of the other Warriors books and shows us the origins of the Clans, which everything else revolves around. note 
  • Protagonist Title: Book two is called Thunder Rising. Thunder is one of the main characters of the book, alongside Gray Wing.
  • Retcon: To be expected from an entire series based on a pawful of conflicting information.
    • The Thunderpath between the future ShadowClan, WindClan, and ThunderClan territories is present in The Sun Trail as it is in Secrets of the Clans despite having been previously retconned out in Code of the Clans.
    • At the end of The Sun Trail, Thunder is named after Storm, not the Thunderpath.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Gray Wing is the sole protagonist of The Sun Trail, while Thunder Rising adds Thunder as a Deuteragonist. The First Battle has Thunder become the protagonist while Gray Wing steps back to the role of Deuteragonist, and adds Clear Sky as a point of view character.
  • Save the Villain: In Thunder Rising, the Moor Group brave a forest fire to rescue the Forest Group, who treat them with great hostility.
  • Shipper on Deck: Silver Frost, one of the elder cats of the Tribe, ships Clear Sky with Bright Stream. She also ships Gray Wing with his admirer Turtle Tail.
  • Sibling Team:
    • Gray Wing and Clear Sky are brothers who work together to hunt and fight. Later on in The Sun Trail, this stops, as they become enemies.
    • Fox and Petal are a brother and sister team who only rely on themselves.
    • Nightheart and her brother work as a team, despite many cats in their territory preferring to work alone.
  • Talking in Your Dreams:
    • The prologue of Thunder Rising is aboutThunder being visited in a dream by the spirit of Storm, his mother.
    • Also in Thunder Rising, Gray Wing is visited by Stoneteller, who tells him that it may be his destiny to lead proto-WindClan.
  • Title Drop: In The Sun Trail, the Tribe cats reference "the trail of the rising sun".
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Before The Sun Trail even came out, the sample blurb of Thunder Rising revealed that the group would split into two, Gray Wing and Clear Sky would become enemies, and Thunder would have some sort of connection to Gray Wing and Clear Sky.
    • The full blurb of Thunder Rising flat out states that Clear Sky is Thunderís father.
    • The blurb of Thunder Rising also reveals the mid-book twist of Clear Sky asking Thunder to join his group and heavily implies that Thunder goes with him, but leaves to return to the moor, which is exactly what happens.
  • Twist Ending: The Sun Trail has one. Clear Sky and Storm's son? Yeah, he's Thunder.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Most fans correctly predicted the appearances of Thunder, Shadow (as Tall Shadow), Clear Sky, Wind, Gorsestar (as Gorse), Cloudspots (as Cloud Spots), and Dapplepelt (as Dappled Pelt) in The Sun Trail. However, virtually nobody suspected that The Sun Trail would feature Graywing the Wise from Battles of the Clans, and if they did they probably didn't think he would be the main character.
    • As well, Half Moon/Stoneteller and Lion's Roar were pretty unexpected.
  • Unnamed Parent: Even though Fox and Petal's mother is mentioned in The Sun Trail, her name is never revealed. Also, although their mother is a supporting character with a name, the father of Gray Wing, Clear Sky, Jagged Peak, and Fluttering Bird goes unnamed and unmentioned throughout the book.
  • Villain Protagonist: In The First Battle, Clear Sky, who has become a villain, is one of the point of view characters. However, he realizes the error of his ways by the end of the book and stops being a villain.
  • Villain Team-Up: Towards the end of The Sun Trail, several of the antagonistic cats of the forest (Fox, Petal, Frost, and Leaf) join up with the forest group led by Clear Sky.
  • Visual Pun: The gorge on the cover of Thunder Rising. The Followers of the Sun Trail are divided.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Several characters in The Sun Trail die after having very minor roles, those being Fluttering Bird, Petal's brother Fox, and two of Storm's kits. Although in the case of Fox, it's slightly fixed in that he appears in the Bonus Scene and we learn more about him, but only after his death.
  • We Used to Be Friends: By the end of The Sun Trail, all the Followers of the Sun Trail still on the moor feel this way towards Clear Sky, who used to be one of their trusted allies, but is now power-hungry and isolated.
  • Wham Episode: The last chapter of The Sun Trail. Storm dies protecting the kits she had with Clear Sky. Only they die too. Wait, one of them is alive! And he's Thunder! The fandom promptly flipped out.
  • Wham Line:
    • Lion's Roar addressing Half Moon by name in the prologue, which reveals that much less time than readers expected had passed since the formation of the Tribe.
    • The last chapter of The Sun Trail has a massive one. Gray Wing is trying to think of a name for the only surviving kit of Storm and Clear Sky. Turtle Tail says, "How about Thunder?", revealing the kit to be the future founder of ThunderClan.

Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsFranchise/Warrior CatsWarrior Cats: SkyClan Saga
Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsXenofictional LiteratureWatership Down
Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsAnimal Title IndexThe Wasp
Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsLiterature of the 2010sThe Weirdness
Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsChildren's LiteratureWayside School
Warrior Cats: Omen of the StarsFantasy LiteratureWars of Light and Shadow

alternative title(s): Dawn Of The Clans; Warrior Cats Dawn Of The Clans
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