Returning by Pat Whitaker


Returning tells the story of an alien, exiled to Earth, trying first to survive in an unfamiliar world, and then to find a way to return to his own kind. In the process he learns as much about himself as he does about human kind.

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Arthys was alone. Alone in alien world full of alien life, and he had no idea of where he was or why he was there. He wanted only one thing – to return home.

But as he struggled to find the path that would lead him back to everything he knew, to everything that mattered to him, he started to discover who he really was. And discover the real meaning of home.

“Yuri Lonchakov looked down at the body at his feet. He felt a brief moment of sadness, of loss. Death was very much the handmaiden of life in the Siberian wilderness, and the wolf was not only a threat to his family and his livelihood, but its pelt was as good as money.

Still, he was very conscious that his gain was another living creature’s loss—as was always the way in this harsh world. He snapped out of his reverie and drew his knife. Slowly and methodically he removed the pelt from the still warm body. As he did so, he experienced a strange sensation, as if suddenly he wasn’t alone. He shrugged, and returned to the task at hand.

He was soon finished, and wiped the blade of his knife clean on the snow. Carefully, he rolled up the pelt, bloody side in, and secured it to the small backpack he carried. He stood up and scanned the surrounding landscape. He knew that the wolf had not been alone, he had seen the tracks of a pack—ten or eleven he estimated—but there was no sign of them now.

It was odd how this one had remained where it stood when the others fled at the sight of him; he knew it had seen him when he had first emerged from the forest. Despite all the tales, for wolves to attack an adult human in open country and in daylight was unheard of. Anyway, this one had shown no sign of attacking, or even aggression. It had just stood there, watching him. For a fleeting moment he felt somehow guilty. Dismissing the thought, he picked up his rifle and started trudging away down the valley towards his trap-line.

Consciousness had slowly returned to Arthys while the hunter was occupied removing the skin from his dead host. He was shocked to his core—staring down at the bare flesh of the body he had occupied for so long, but he forced himself to put these thoughts to one side. This new host was something else altogether. He immediately realised that this species was intelligent. It had at least a certain level of technology and, judging by the host’s thought patterns, probably language. Desperate and terrifying though the transfer to this new host had been, Arthys now realised that it had been his longed-for escape, even if it had not been of his choosing.”


“ … intense and fast-paced tale, set in ‘almost- real’ history. Stunningly presented with compassion in a way that places the reader directly into the minds of those involved. Pat Whitaker has produced yet another book that you just can’t put down.”

“Loved this book. A fascinating slant on what could have been … Another great addition to the world of intelligent fiction.”

“As Science Fiction, it is great and mind bending. As a Romance, it warms the heart. As a Human Interest, it is challenging and revealing. As Historical Fiction, it is well researched… You need to read it for yourself.”

“… makes compelling reading. … will hold your attention until the very end, where a final twist unfolds.”


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