A long book with many characters and events. (458 digital pages, 750 paperback pages, 57 chapters) Characters will sometimes appear out-of-the-blue—so to speak—and take over the viewpoint. At the end of the book is a list of all characters, their ages, and their relevance to the story. A second list describes the two main characters (Aaron & Caroline) and the 17 main secondary characters, including the villains. A third lists the 57 chapters with short descriptions. (The digital version includes an interactive Table of Contents.)
The contemporary Native American plays a big part in the story. Tribes mentioned include the Nez Perce, Papago, Apache, Lakota, Cheyenne, Navaho, Iroquois, Ojibwa, and the ancient Hohokum.
The last post in this 6-part series will list the 57 chapters.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 “The Prophecy”
(Four Crows, of the Nez Perce, has just finished a painting on the back of Aaron’s suede shirt. The painting will get Aaron a meeting with an ancient Papago medicine man who will tell him the future…according to Native American legend and prophecy.)
The boy-turned-man extended his hand, fingers up, thumb back.
Aaron curled his fingers over Four Crows’ hand and locked thumbs.
“Try to do something about your baby-face,” Four Crows said, smiling, the upper-lip sneer evident, “A thirty-two-year-old hippie should look his age.”
Feeling a somewhat-grudging but growing respect, Aaron gripped the hand tightly, “And a nineteen-year-old should respect his elders.”
“Ha! Ha!” Four Crows laughed and returned the tight grip, squeezed harder, leaned in, “The Red Man’s day is coming, Aaron Hodges, and a few white men are coming with us. You be one of them.”
2 excerpts from Chapter 7 “You Will Lead”
(At Aaron’s new job, the painting on the back of his shirt has attracted the attention of not only Caleb Conrad, the supervisor, but a fellow worker, Two Shirts of the Rabbit, Chiricahua Apache.)
“Something like that, I suppose. Conrad doesn’t like you.”
He hunched his shoulders, “I’d like to know why.”
“The painting on your shirt,” Two Shirts kicked off a hanging rod, started another cut, “He doesn’t like me either. Indians are unpopular these days, and so are people who show any sign of sympathizing, as you, Hodges, with that painting.”
“I don’t exactly sympathize.” Aaron shrugged, “Just common decency. Human rights.”
“Your true politics don’t matter. You wear the painting, and, to Conrad, you wear it proudly. I’ll try to explain. The Indian has caused a guilt complex. Romantic motion pictures have played a part. We’re usually portrayed as wise and noble stewards of the forests and prairies, and in the beginnings we’re always many, and proud, and powerful, but by the end we’ve been beaten and reduced to a starving band of savages with our hands out. No matter how the story’s written there’s always that unavoidable end.
(Second excerpt; Aaron has just been introduced to Raven Hawk, of the Papago.)
The old Indian’s front offered more postcard picturesqueness. The rolled-up ragged blue jeans, too large for him, were held up by a leather belt and a large belt buckle with a turquoise half-moon on silver. The face was a deeply-furrowed arroyo, to Aaron, a Hollywood movie set and national monument all in one.
The arroyo lines deepened, the thin lips parted, exposing teeth missing, “Aaron Hodges, Hippie-boy-with-the-Soldier’s-Hat, I am glad to make your acquaintance. It is said a hippie-boy would appear in the shadows of the Little Snowy Mountains in this year. You, though unaware, have appeared and received the painting from Four Crows, kin to the great Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.”
As said, “The Bellwether” includes the Native Americans, making this quite beautiful song (which represents several tribes) appropriate to end this post.