THE SHAMAN'S GAME by James D. Doss


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The fourth in the legend-infused chronicle set in the hills and canyons of Colorado, where native Charlie Moon is a policeman on the Ute reservation near the village of Ignacio (The Shaman's Bones, 1997, etc.). This time, Charlie is on duty at the Southern Ute Sun Dance, an annual event in which participants--men only--dance to a state of total exhaustion before a totem tree, accompanied by drums and a singer, in the hope of receiving an empowering vision. At a recent Sun Dance near Touaoc, home of the Mountain Utes, experienced dancer Hooper Antelope had died--heart failure, according to the Medical Examiner. His death was quickly followed by that of his aged, crippled mother Stella. Now, at the Southern Ute Sun Dance, are several of those present at the earlier event: Shoshone elder Red Heel; dancers Stone Pipe (a Sioux), white man Dr. Winston Steele, and Ute Larry Sands. Larry's sister Delly, who's recently returned to Ignacio after some time at college, is working for the local newspaper and has designs on Charlie Moon. Meantime, Charlie's cunning old Aunt Daisy, a shaman, is certain (as are many other Utes) that Hooper was killed by witchcraft and so hatches a plot to prove it at the Sun Dance. There is a death before it's all over--but one far removed from witchcraft. Feeble threads of a sad story are laced into an elaborately mystical narrative, but only the most patient of readers, or students of Indian lore, will care enough to ferret them out from what, in all, is a repetitive mass of visions, nightmares, tribal tales, and ancient myths.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Avon