In the earliest days of ThunderClan, its first leader faces down a new threat—and forges a new tradition for all the warrior Clans.
Detailed Plot Summary
Thunderstar watches Snail Shell run after a vole, and return with the vole in his mouth. He nods approvingly, and praises Owl Eyes for training him so well. The gray cat replies that the tom was eager to learn, and Snail Shell asks Thunderstar if he saw how well he pounced. He says that he used to land short of the prey, but then Owl Eyes told him to land in front of the prey, and he'd get it every time. Apple Blossom remarks that she never needed to be told that, because her pounces were always good. Her mentor, Lightning Tail, replies it took her a bit of time to scent her prey, and that she should show Thunderstar what she's learned. The orange-and-white she-cat says she smells a mouse and a rabbit and the leader congratulates her, asking what she should hunt. Apple Blossom thinks on it, saying the mouse would be easier to catch, but the rabbit would fill more cats. Thunderstar agrees, and suggests that she and Snail Shell hunt it together in a pair, like WindClan cats do.
The two head off into the bushes, sneaking up behind their prey. Apple Blossom chases the rabbit into Snail Shell's paws, and they return with their catch. Thunderstar praises them, saying that it will fill a lot of hungry bellies. The cats then head toward the RiverClanborder, and the ginger leader scents the air. On the other side of the river, Apple Blossom spots Moss Tail and greets him. He flicks his tail in recognition before disappearing into the reeds. They then watch the brown tom catch a fish, much to the surprise of the littermates. Lightning Tail says that fish doesn't taste too bad, and promises to take them over to RiverClan's camp for a taste sometime. Snail Shell complains of being tired, so the patrol sits down to rest. Lightning Tail jokes that back in his day, younger cats had a lot more stamina. Then, the deputy shares a story from when he fought in the battle against Slash and his rogues. Thunderstar watches with interest, knowing that he's chosen the right deputy, as he gets along with everyone wonderfully. However, his good mood diminishes when he hears arguing back at camp.
He enters to hear Shivering Rose complaining that Clover and Thistle brought her the wrong type of leaf. They are hissing at each other, but the leader tells them all to stop. He then comes up with a compromise that will stop the argument from happening again, and the three sulk away. Thunderstar turns away from them, hoping to go back to his den with Violet Dawn. Before he gets there, another argument between Leaf and Pink Eyes sparks up about prey. Thunderstar wearily tells them both to stop, as they should be setting a better example for the younger cats. Thunderstar goes to looks for Violet Dawn, and finds her in the medicine den. He worries about her, as she'd seemed fine that morning. He finds Cloud Spots and his mate sitting together, and so the medicine cat leaves to give them time to talk. Violet Dawn reveals that she's expecting his kits, and he is stunned and thrilled. Later that night, however, he can't fall asleep. Thunderstar takes a walk in the clearing, and is stopped by Lightning Tail. He tells the deputy about his troubles, but is reassured. Lightning Tail meows that this is a good time to have kits, and that he can do his best to protect them.
Violet Dawn and Milkweed sit in the nursery, making idle conversation while the rain puts down. The she-cats watch Patch Pelt and Beech Tail play, but they are stopped because they're kicking up mud. Thunderstar reflects that it's been raining so much that it's been hard to catch prey in the past few days. A hunting patrol returns with a meager catch, and that is quickly given to the two queens and their kits. Thunderstar feels that it is his responsibility to feed the Clan, and decides to take out another hunting party. Owl Eyes and Leaf protest, saying that the weather is terrible and all the prey is holed up in their dens. The ginger leader growls at them, and then insists that Thistle, Apple Blossom, and Gooseberry will come with him. Lightning Tail gives a quick uplifting message of encouragement, and they all begin to brighten up. During the hunt, they manage to catch a nest full of mice, and Thunderstar catches a fat pigeon from under a bush. He is satisfied with what they have caught, especially in this weather. The cats at camp welcome them back, and each come forward to take their share. Milkweed walks closer, but freezes mid-step upon scenting something. She asks Thunderstar if he smells it too, but before any cat can move, the sound of barking erupts outside camp.
Thunderstar grabs Patch Pelt, ordering him to climb a birch tree. The kitten scrambles up with Beech Tail and Milkweed following him. Cats around the clearing begin to do the same, with Lightning Tail helping Pink Eyes up an ash tree. Thunderstar searches for Violet Dawn, but his attention is diverted by the stampede of dogs that are racing down the ravine. He hears a frightened yowl from down below and sees Clover, Snail Shell, Violet Dawn, and Owl Eyes huddled by the warriors' den. As the dogs enter camp, Thunderstar jumps down from the tree and has them chase him. He hopes that this will give Violet Dawn and the others enough time to get up a tree, even with Clover's injured leg slowing them down. He races away before finally scrambling up onto a branch out of reach. The leader glances back at camp and sees Clover halfway up the tree with the others still on the ground. The last dog attacks Violet Dawn, but she swipes at it enough to stun it. The queen shoves Snail Shell up a tree, then scrambles up with Owl Eyes moments later. Thunderstar is relieved, but then it starts to rain heavily. ThunderClan miserably waits it out until the dogs leave, and then the ginger leader calls them into the clearing. He is happy that no one is hurt, but notices that their prey pile is ruined in the mud. The next morning, he reassures the Clan that they will be extra vigilant in watching for new threats from now on. Thunderstar worries for the safety of his kits in this environment, but Violet Dawn says they'll be okay. They decide to send messengers about the dogs to each Clan, but the leader himself decides to visit SkyClan.
Thunderstar travels into SkyClan territory, keeping alert. Dew Petal and Honey Pelt meet him at the entrance to their camp, and welcome him in. The leader asks if they'll take him to Skystar, and both agree. On their way, the younger pair talk about the latest news in SkyClan. Thunderstar praises them, but feels oddly left out when he hears about how much Skystar praises and appreciates his kits compared to when he was little. They arrive in camp, so Dew Petal and Honey Pelt leave to get some prey. The she-cat asks if she can come see Violet Dawn's kits when they are born, and he says yes. Skystar greets his son, asking what he's come here for. Thunderstar tells his father about the dogs, and the ThunderClan tom finds out that Skystar already knew about them. They both agree that they must've com from far away, because of their acrid scent that resembles a Thunderpath. The two cats decide to track the scent, and follow it to a lot of dead monsters. Thunderstar listens closely, and can hear barking fill the air. He whispers that this is where the dogs came from.
Back at camp, Violet Dawn is surprised to learn that monsters can die. Thunderstar, Lightning Tail, and the gray queen are sitting outside their den, talking about the new discovery. The ginger leader decides to go back to where he dogs live and learn more about them. Lightning Tail insists on coming with him, but Thunderstar hesitates, because the Clan needs someone to protect them. However, the deputy makes a convincing case that Violet Dawn will be safe under Cloud Spots care, and Owl Eyes can look after ThunderClan. Thunderstar agrees and leaps onto Highrock to announce the news. He tells them that he and Lightning Tail are going to find where the dogs are, and says that Violet Dawn will be in charge with Owl Eyes acting as her deputy. The next day, they leave and come across an abandoned camp. When there, they discover that the dogs have killed a rogue, with one body left behind. The two cats stay to bury the brown she-cat and give her a proper farewell. Thunderstar and his deputy then continue to the area of dead monsters, and see dogs prowling around them. The dogs are called back in by Twolegs, who drag two of the creatures back into their dwelling. Thunderstar and Lightning Tail go down to investigate, and find a large opening where the dogs get out into the forest. They decide to try and cover it, trying first with stones, and then with brambles. However, the dogs are let back out and Thunderstar yowls that they need to run.
The pair run from the dogs, but are soon outpaced and cornered. Thunderstar comes up with a plan, saying that they should be ale to trick them. The leader bolts forward, making an opening for Lightning Tail to run free. However, Thunderstar is caught by the lead dog and begins to get attacked. Lightning Tail comes back to help, but the ginger tom mentally tells him to run and save himself. With a new burst of energy, Thunderstar helps his Clanmate fight off the dogs, just long enough to make a run for it. The two streak away, running back up the hill into the trees. They stop at the foot of a large oak, both sinking to the ground. Thunderstar thank Lightning Tail for coming back for him, even when he didn't have to. The deputy replies that he couldn't leave him, because that's not what a Clan cat does. Thunderstar asks if they're dying, and Lightning Tail answers that as a leader, the ginger tom will go on because he has nine lives. Slowly, the world becomes more dim, and the leader sinks into a sea of blackness. They wake in StarClan, and Gray Wing comes to greet them. The gray tom says that Thunderstar needs to go back and begin his next life. He thinks it's unfair, noting that Lightning Tail only got hurt by helping him escape. Gray Wing meows that it was a necessary sacrifice, because he would've been killed again and again by those dogs until he had no lives left. The sunny clearing then fades to black, sucking Thunderstar along with it. The leader awakens, amazed that he's still alive. He grieves Lightning Tail, and decides to sit vigil for him. Thunderstar shares company over his friend all night, for the last time.
As the sun rises, Thunderstar wearily rises to his feet. He begins to bury Lightning Tail, and thinks that he'll return home. However, a thought stops him and the leader knows he needs to finish what he started. Thunderstar covers his friend in some stalks of long grass, then heads toward the Twolegplace. He soon reaches a good vantage point, and watches the dogs from above. Thunderstar decides to take a different approach, because covering the hole with Lightning Tail didn't work. He tries to roll a rock down a hill to block the entrance, but it is derailed by a stray branch or bump. The leader is disappointed, and looks over to see the dogs now basking in the sun. Thunderstar notices the Twolegs moving around in their dwelling, and an idea comes to him. He wonders if they know that their dogs are sneaking out, and if they would cover the hole if they knew about it. The tom slinks forward, wary, because these dogs had already killed him once. Thunderstar begins to climb the wire fence, yowling when he jumps over the top. He hears a startled voice from a Twoleg as the dogs begin to chase him. The leader runs, and expecting to feel claws in his pelt. He then looks back to see the Twolegs holding their dogs, pointing at the hole. A new piece of silver netting is fixed across the hole, and Thunderstar is relieved. He then pads back to where Lightning Tail is and buries him. The ginger tom says his goodbyes and begins the long walk back to camp.
Thunderstar slips back into camp, quickly heading to his den. He waves his tail at Leaf, who is guarding camp. Violet Dawn awakens and greets him, reporting on what's happened since he's been away. She says that Owl Eyes made an excellent replacement while he was away, though she was too tired to help. The queen notices Thunderstar's somber mood and asks him what's wrong. He hesitates to upset her, but decides against it, as she's never shied from he truth before. The leader tells her about Lightning Tail's death, and how he saved his life. She lets out a mournful wail of grief, sinking into her nest. The whole Clan wakes up, so Thunderstar goes out and announces what happened. Many of the cats look sad, and some begin to comment on how wonderful their deputy was. Violet Dawn says that he will be forever remembered as a wonderful deputy. The camp stays somber for the next two days as everyone grieves Lightning Tail. Violet Dawn says that this isn't right, as the former deputy wouldn't want them to act like this. She suggests to her mate that he pick a new deputy to cheer the Clan up. He considers it, and she suggests Owl Eyes, Before he can decide, Violet Dawn gasps that the kits are coming.
Thunderstar calls for Cloud Spots, and the medicine cat rushes in to help. He calmly asks if it's time for her kitting, and Shivering Rose sits beside him. The medicine cat orders Violet Dawn to take a deep breath, and other cats start to crowd around in excitement. Cloud Spots orders them to move into the nursery for the queen's comfort. He adds that every cat needs to back off and give Violet Dawn room, glaring at the onlookers. Violet Dawn complains about the pain, so they quickly transfer her to the nursery. They begin to give her chervil juice to help, and Shivering Rose goes to fetch it. Thunderstar hunches outside the nursery, feeling useless as he can't help. Owl Eyes reassures him that everything will be fine, and that his kits will be healthy and well cared for. Violet Dawn calls for Thunderstar, and he bolts into the den. Cloud Spots comments that sometimes it's better for the father to wait outside, but the queen insists that he stay. The ginger leader comforts his mate, saying that it will be over soon. Four healthy kits are born, and their parents crowd around them. He feels sad that Lightning Tail isn't here to see them, but vows to tell his kits about him.
The night of the Gathering, Thunderstar stands on top of the Great Rock with Skystar and Windstar. Riverstar and Shadowstar soon join them, and ThunderClan's leader decides to share his news first. He announces the birth of his new kits, and cats of all Clans murmur their congratulations. Thunderstar then moves on to announce that Lightning Tail is dead, and every cat is saddened, as he was well-liked and respected. Skystar asks if he's appointed a new deputy yet, and he replies by appointing Owl Eyes as the new deputy of ThunderClan. The gray tom is shocked and pleased, looking on happily near the base of the Great Rock. After the meeting, Thunderstar apologizes to Owl Eyes for springing that on him, and the other tom promises not to let him down. The ThunderClan leader says that every cat makes mistakes, but trying their best is all they can do sometimes. Back a camp, Thunderstar lies down with Violet Dawn and tells her that Owl Eyes has been appointed deputy. She is pleased with the choice, and then quickly reminds him that he needs to name two of their kits. Thunderstar promises he will, then wanders out into the clearing. He names two of his kits Sleek Fur and Lightning Stripe, which Violet Dawn approves of. Thunderstar is reminded that he hasn't lost Lightning Tail forever, and that he'll always be watching over ThunderClan.
This book was released in early 2017, and it is about a character from the Dawn of the Clans arc. Since Vicky is not writing this novella, she is unaware as to whom it is about.
The novella was initially titled Thunder's Echo.
It is still called Thunder's Echo on the digital cover of Legends of the Clans, but was fixed on the paperback cover.