Sue Harrison is one of my all time favorite authors since I started reading her in my high school years. Always a fan of Native American culture, prehistoric history, and literature, I devoured her first book in the three-book Ivory Carver series, Mother Earth Father Sky. I just reviewed that for its re-release HERE.
Today, I also have the pleasure of reviewing the first book in her second series, which first published in 1997, called Song of the River, from the Storyteller trilogy! Both of her best-selling series of books have just been re-released in digital format by Open Road Media, opening the door for new readers to be introduced to her great writing! On another note, the covers on the The Storyteller Trilogy are AMAZING!
Sue knows how to engage the reader into the past with her well-developed and dimensional characters, her cinematic phrases, and her historical detail, without overpowering the reader with an over-abundant amount of description that would ultimately seem too scientific. She brings the story of Song of the River to us, with authenticity and truth, and weaves for us a story of intrigue and drama within the realm of the prehistoric Alaskan Aleutian Islands.
Song of the River is a story of hardship and sorrow, of manipulations and family, of the need for revenge and the evil it spins, betrayal, and even love. It tells the story of K’os, a woman who is violated in the worst way by men, but who also finds an abandoned baby with a deformed foot the next day. He is named Chakliux. K’os is twisted with a vengeful heart, but Chakliux grows up to be the tribe’s storyteller.
There is murder and intrigue in this book, with a bright beacon in the character of Chakliux–in his stories, his songs, his love of nature–as he takes on the adventure in finding out the truth that lives among all the people around him. And even he begins to find himself along this path.
Sue’s writing is so clear to me and I feel the characters, the scenery, the way the sea animals move, the way the people work to survive. I can almost understand the characters’ struggles through her words and yet also am learning so much about this past culture due to her immense amount of research.
Her books have always been an escape to another time and place for me, as if I might be sitting on the top of the mountain overlooking the story. (Of course dressed in a parka and snow boots and wrapped in a warm blanket!) There doesn’t seem to be an enormous amount of people writing this type of First People’s fiction, yet maybe more of us should read it and really compare their harsh lives to our convenient modern lifestyle. I am happy to see their oneness with nature, the animals, and their determination against the elements.
I also highly recommended Sue Harrison’s Song of the River as well as the rest of her Storyteller series, Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars. I’m sure you won’t want to put Song of the River down, but will thirst for more of the epic story. I’d reserve your weekend now, or else you might neglect everything else you’d put on your calendar.
Both of Sue’s novels encouraged me in my love for historical fiction and inspired me to write. I hope that they remain with you as they have with me!
SONG OF THE RIVER, Synopsis~
Two ancient tribes on the verge of making peace become foes once more when a double murder jeopardizes a storyteller’s mission
Eighty centuries ago, in the frozen land that is now Alaska, a clubfooted male child had been left to die, when a woman named K’os rescued him. Twenty years later and no longer a child, Chakliux occupies the revered role as his tribe’s storyteller. In the neighboring village of the Near River people, where Chakliux will attempt to make peace by wedding the shaman’s daughter, a double murder occurs that sends him on a harsh, enthralling journey in search of the truth about the tragic losses his people have suffered, and into the arms of a woman he was never meant to love.
Song of the River is the first book of the Storyteller Trilogy, which also includes Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars.
Praise for SONG OF THE RIVER
“Harrison once again displays her first-rate storytelling talents, here in a rousing tale of murder, revenge, and internecine warfare . . . A warm yarn from the frozen North as authentic as all get-out.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Sue Harrison joins the ranks of Jean Auel and Linda Lay Shuler.” —The Houston Post
“A remarkable storyteller.” —Detroit Free Press
“Lyrical . . . compelling . . . a timeless tale of the best and the worst of humankind in a land where the mundane mixes naturally with the mystical.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
Watch her new video at the link!
Author Sue Harrison, Biography~
Sue Harrison grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University with a bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature. At age twenty-seven, inspired by the cold Upper Michigan forest that surrounded her home, and the outdoor survival skills she had learned from her father and her husband, Harrison began researching the people who understood best how to live in a harsh environment: the North American native peoples. She studied six Native American languages and completed extensive research on culture, geography, archaeology, and anthropology during the nine years she spent writing her first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, the extraordinary story of a woman’s struggle for survival in the last Ice Age.
A national and international bestseller, and selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 1991, Mother Earth Father Sky is the first novel in Harrison’s critically acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy, which includes My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind. She is also the author of Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, and Call Down the Stars, which comprise the Storyteller Trilogy, also set in prehistoric North America. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages and published in more than twenty countries.
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