A white child raised by the Mohicans who massacred his parents is given a chance to choose which world will be his in this probing, thoroughly researched first novel. Jonathan is only four when he's dragged from the hollow log in which he'd been hiding; eight years later, as Echohawk, he remembers his previous life only in occasional dreams. Nonetheless, his wise adoptive father, Glickihigan, sends him to the settlers' school for a year to learn English and, he explains, ""the ways of the people you were born to . . . someday you may feel a pull toward them."" Durrant's focus is less on plot or character--though she avoids typecasting and provides comic relief with the byplay between Echohawk and his feisty little brother--than on observing the cultural changes as whites move in and indigenes die or move on; the appended glossary, bibliography, and endnotes sharpen this sociological slant. Though Echohawk feels the ""pull"" of his old life, he leaves school when he learns that his intolerant schoolmaster plans to spirit him away to Boston. With his village wiped out by disease, and, in reawakened memories, his recognition of Glickihigan's role in the deaths of his parents, Echohawk faces a path that will be a solitary one. A prequel to Last of the Mohicans? No, Durrant avers, but it makes a natural lead-in.