Can you hear the sounds of nature? Do you hear the voices of the animals, the whispers of the trees and know when the rains are about the come? Can you foretell the future and events before they happen? What happens when a six-year-old child named Tyoga experiences things many will never learn in a lifetime?
The year 1688 the place is the New World. The family the Weathersby’s and the union between them and the Indians cemented for life. When his grandfather rescued Powhatan Chief Opencanecanough in 1622, the Weathersby’s became part of their tribe for life. When his father realized that he had awakened to the sounds of nature he realized it was time to explain how one day he would fulfill what was you might say prophesized for him to do. How will he handle this great power you might say and what will his fate be? The author then describes the Appalachians in such a picturesque manner it is as if you are there with Tyoga going along on the journey with him and his Indian family. When his blood brother Tes Qua Ta Wa (the One Who Opens the Door) is seriously injured and his snared in a trap he manages to stop the profuse bleeding, save his life and protect them both from a group of dangerous marauding wolves. Here lies the beginning of the legend of this amazing young man. The place Colonial Virginia the time period somewhat volatile and the end result will definitely endear you to more than just Tyoga.
Throughout the novel the author shares many back stories about some of the characters including how his grandfather saved the Powhatan Chief’s life and how he the chief repaid him and his family bringing them to safety. Recounting how Emma, his mother met his father and became a healer plus the death of his younger brother brings to light the true meaning of the word Choices. As Tes Qua is finally on the mend with the help of Emma or the white man’s medicine he and Sunlei continue their relationship. Caring for each other and hopefully meant to be they share their emotions, feelings and much more with the reader. Tyoga no longer looks at the world as we do but in a disconnected way as if he is observing events and not living them. He experiences life in the context of time, space and dimension. His allegiance, loyalty and friendships are tested in many odd ways. His identity and self are often lost as he helps others and begins to question why. Choices are and sometimes we suffer at our own hands. As his younger brother decided to care for a snake rather than leave it to nature to tend it he dies. Why? Once we make a decision there are only two outcomes we are told. Nothing in nature is good and nothing is evil. Interesting thought! Caring for the snake or nature was good but Davey was not meant to die the snake was. Sometimes Tyoga says it is killed or be killed. As his mother realizes the strong spirit within him and how he has changed we now meet him and Sunlei as they go on a journey together.
Indian raids are not uncommon and what they are about to experience would take courage and much more. The Shawnee Indians were fierce warriors and he and Sunlei would have to leave Mount Rag before something happened. But, Tyoga proves himself wise and brave as he saves her life and they continue on home. The relationship between Tyoga and the commander of the wolves is a great story and keeps the reader wondering if he will encounter him again.
Politics is not just for those in the present or for the political parties that try to capture our votes. The Indians had their way of creating their own friction, making deals with other tribes and often wind up fighting their own kind or facing the French against the British or with the British against the Spanish. Not used to the deceits of others the Native Americans were like pawns in a chess game used to decide who would win. Foreign countries deceived these people, were ruthless and the injustices inflicted on these people worse than cruel. Cheated by the white man out of monies for their land, taking about their cattle, chasing away their game in order for them to eat and provide for their families and selling Indian women and children into slavery. The remainder of Chapter 14 engages the reader in the history of what the Indians endured, the Shawnee raids, The Native American code of civility and the breach of it that the Cherokee had never forgotten. Four young Shawnees died on Mount Rag but they would not be the last.
But, the end result would not be the one you would expect as Tyoga and Tes Qua have to face the Shawnees for what they think they did and are responsible for. Silver Cloud the chief and many others join them as they journey to the Shawnee tribe. Trying to speak civilly Chief Yellow Robe and Silver Chief hope to settle their differences but can they? But, the outcome was anything but what was expected and retribution was what Yellow Robe wanted. The author also brings to light the mixed feelings Tyoga has for Sunlei and the chief’s daughter Prairie Day. The payment would bring more than just anger to Tyoga and the accusations would destroy lives. Doubting Tyoga’s power and the spirit of the wolf they claim it is false and therefore he killed his sons. Doubting that he posses the spirit of Wahaya-wacon lives within him and Chief Silver Cloud believes that he would never take a life and he did not kill the sons of Yellow Robe. In order to make piece Sunlei is sacrificed and made to join with Seven Arrows to replace the six children lost. Nine Moons has no choice but to send her to live with the Shawnee and Silver Cloud said they couldn’t interfere.
But, Tyoga could not bear to live without Sunlei and said he would leave a find a place for himself. Cruelty is what Sunlei faced at the hand of Seven Arrows and the violence unthinkable. Spousal abuse is something not knew to us and definitely part of the Shawnees as Seven Arrows needs to prove his manhood and authority by beating Sunlei. But, what she does to survive will surprise the reader as she escapes after a brutal beating and what happens to Seven Arrows is well deserved. As the wolf comes back, communicating with him and his role is to protect Sunlei not him. Tested to the limit and loyal to a fault Tyoga will do anything and everything to protect his people. Intertribal feuds that remind you of fights between countries today, defeats, deceptions and lies and one man whose legend will live on in the hearts and minds of his people forever. What is his final destiny? Where will life finally take him? Will he question his perception of who he is and where he should be? Author H.L. Grandin brings to light just how far some will go to please others, live by their creeds, fit into their ways and forget who they are. Loyalty, friendships and love are all testing in this historical novel that brings to light many issues we deal with today. Arbitrations that go wrong. Abuse that is overlooked by those who feel it is right.
As Tyoga forges an alliance to help the people of the Mattaponi he meets Trinity Jane and together they have a rich and productive life. But, Tyoga will never be satisfied and the wolf returns, the land of the Mattiponi is threatened and they need him to deal with the Lord Governor. As he makes the deals, forges his own alliance, even frees a slave and proves that he is more than just an ordinary man the restlessness within him will not die until he finds Sunlei and returns to where he belongs. An ending that will give you much pause for thought and one man who is more than just part white and you might say part Indian in his ways. What will his final destiny be? What is the right decision for him? Where will the journey take him? What happens when he learns the truth about Sunlei? What about his friendship with Tes Qua Ta Wa? Massacres, murders, stealing, slavery and distrust plague his life. When Wahaya-Wacon returns what does it mean? Find out in Book Two: The Search for Sunlei. Trust, loyalty and one man’s search to find out where he belongs and who he is. Should you judge your worth on what others think about you? Are you really just a legend or are you more?
This is one interesting novel that brings to light all of the issues I have highlighted and much more. Characters that are vividly described and events graphically depicted. This is one book that brings to light just how far one man will go to find his true destiny. Can you hear the sound of the wind? What are the animals telling you Tyoga? Where will life take you next?