The first real test of a boy shaman--a theme that echoes the Steeles' recent Eye in the Forest (KR, p. 497, J-163)--is dealt with here much more simply. Soaring Hawk, an apprentice in white knowledge, goes off on a forest vigil with old, spiritually powerful Owl to pit his magic against that of Scratcher--a contest of wills that is also being fought in the illness-wracked body of Soaring Hawk's only sister Redbird. Soaring Hawk, despite his name, never experiences the moments of mystical intensity that were the high points of Eye in the Forest. But his visions do enter into the material of Cherokee legend as Soaring Bird visits Thunder, ruler of the dead, and listens to the voice of Long Man, the river, to learn that Scratcher is not his real enemy. . . that Redbird's sickness is a test set by Fighting Bear, his own uncle and teacher. The accuracy of Rockwood's research is attested to by anthropologist Raymond D. Fogelson, and without much visible machinery this does enter into the mood and concerns of pre-Columbian tribal life.