The Burning Horizon is the fifth book of the Return to the Wild arc. The cover shows Kallik, Yakone, and Toklo walking in a bright meadow. The bear in the portrait is unknown.


The action-packed second arc in Erin Hunter's New York Times bestselling Seekers series continues as the bears close in on the end of their journey.
 As the weather grows warmer, Toklo, Kallik, Lusa, and Yakone are determined to reach Great Bear Lake in time for the Longest Day Gathering. Even Toklo, who has already claimed new territory in the mountains, has promised to stay with them until Lusa has found a home of her own. But when Lusa is unexpectedly separated from the others, she must face her past--and decide her future.
 The fifth book in the epic Return to the Wild story arc--which ALA Booklist said "will be greeted with delight by fans"--is packed with difficult choices, drama, and heart-pounding adventure. The end of the bears' travels is in sight, and The Burning Horizon will leave readers desperate to find out how the arc ends!

The Praise

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Detailed Plot Summary

Toklo, Kallik, Lusa, and Yakone are leaving the forest of wolves to head towards Great Bear Lake and to find a home for Lusa. They climb up a slope and find water. Kallik is worried about Yakone as his paw is still bleeding. Toklo senses a lone coyote and the four catch the pika the canine was chasing. They settle down in a hollow and Ujurak gives Toklo a message: he must get to Great Bear Lake. Toklo is sad that he has to leave his friends when Lusa finds a home, but Lusa tells him that they will always leave a memory in their hearts.
As they walk, they encounter a group of flat-faces. They have to hide, though Lusa feels a spider fall on her nose and is worried that it'll make her sneeze. The flat-faces leave them alone. 
Later on, the bears' path is blocked by a seemingly endless line of mules. Toklo decides they need to charge through the line, which results in a desperate battle to escape. Lusa gets kicked in the head by one, making her wander away from the others. A flat-face finds her and captures her.
The others finally break away from the mules and search for signs of Lusa. They find only firebeast tracks, showing Lusa has been taken away. Ujurak appears to Toklo in a dream and tells him Lusa is alive, but far away. He advises looking for "where the caribou walk" beneath "the stars that shine where the sun will rise". 
Lusa wakes up in a flat-face den full of other animals. All of them, including her, are in cages. On one side of Lusa is a coyote, on the other is a blind black bear named Taqtuq. He explains that flat-faces bring injured or sick animals to the den, and take them away when they are healed. Lusa thinks of herself as a wild bear, not one who belongs with flat-faces, but Taktuq tells her she is too weak to be released.
Toklo finds a black bear he thinks is Lusa, but it turns out to be another female, Enola. She has not seen Lusa but seems eager to go with the others to Great Bear Lake, but to her disappointment, they refuse. While traveling, they finally come across a large caribou herd migrating. 
Lusa is allowed into the outdoor pen attached to her cage, but it's not like being in the wild again. When Lusa is restrained from trying to escape in front of a little flat-face, she flies into a rage and starts destroying things. Taktuq explains that she will need to be nice to be released. He shows Lusa that the little flat-face likes to take a fox out of its pen and walk it on a leash. One night, Lusa dreams about Ujurak telling her to follow the caribou trail.
While traveling through the mountains, Toklo, Kallik, and Yakone have to climb onto a glacier to escape a group of flat-faces. Kallik falls into a crevasse and is unable to climb out. Toklo worries that while he and Yakone are rescuing Kallik, the caribou will move on, but then he realizes that they are heading toward Ursa's stars, and they can follow those to Lusa.
In the flat-face den, Lusa tries several times to befriend the young flat-face, only to become frustrated when it fails. Taktuq calms her down, telling her it will take time. Finally, the flat-face takes Lusa out on a leash, not knowing the black bear's plans. While Lusa sneaks off, Taktuq warns her that the coyote next to her cage is escaping. It attacks the flat-face, forcing Lusa to defend her and then hightail it out of there.
Kallik walks to one end of the crevasse and finds a tight spot to squeeze through. She starts to panic at being stuck in the ground, but Ujurak comes and helps her walk through the glacier, despite being frightened himself. He guides Kallik to a wider spot in the crevasse and then disappears. Kallik can climb out onto the glacier's surface, though her friends are nowhere in sight. It takes time for them to reunite.
Lusa runs from the flat-faces and gets lost in a cornfield. She uses Ujurak's constellation to guide her out. Once she stumbles upon the caribou trail, she thinks it doesn't make sense for her to travel in the same direction as the caribou. Suddenly, Lusa realizes that Ujurak told her to follow the trail in the opposite direction.
Kallik, Toklo, and Yakone enter a flat-face denning place and have to hide from them yet again, in a building full of cans. They wait until dark and clumsily sneak out of the denning place. Lusa finally rejoins them in the middle of a forest, allowing all four of them to head for Great Bear Lake.
The bears do come upon a lake, but since there are no other bears there, it must be the wrong one. Their only option for bypassing the lake is to swim across it, which goes well at first, but a thunderstorm suddenly comes up. Ujurak appears as a giant fish, knowing the Seekers should never have tried to swim across the lake. The bears manage to climb up onto a boat, but it breaks apart in the storm.
Lusa wakes up on a beach, on the other side of the lake. She is horrified at first that she might be the only one who survived, but she sees Yakone and Toklo unconscious on the beach. Yakone is frightened for Kallik, but she walks up to join them. As the four bears get closer to Great Bear Lake and the end of their journey, they encounter more and more bears along their path. Finally, the last night of their journey comes and the four bears share a meal, giving food to each other.
The next morning, the bears wake up feeling sad that this is the last day of the journey. They keep going, though, and finally come upon Great Bear Lake.


Polar Bears

Grizzly Bears

Black Bears


  • This is the first time Lusa isn't featured on the cover.
  • The book title was revealed in HarperCollins Catalogs.[10]


Seekers Books
The Original Series The Quest BeginsGreat Bear LakeSmoke MountainThe Last WildernessFire in the SkySpirits in the Stars
Return to the Wild Island of ShadowsThe Melting SeaRiver of Lost BearsForest of WolvesThe Burning HorizonThe Longest Day
Mangas Toklo's StoryKallik's AdventureLusa's Tale

The Burning Horizon Chapters
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21Chapter 22Chapter 23Chapter 24Chapter 25Chapter 26Chapter 27Chapter 28Chapter 29Chapter 30Chapter 31Chapter 32Chapter 33Chapter 34
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