THE EYE IN THE FOREST by Mary Q. & William O. Steele


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The Steeles have recreated a historical people, the pre-Columbian Adena mound builders, and made them the principals in this fictional quest for a lost sacred place, the Eye of the Forest, here identified with the Old Stone Fort in Manchester, Tennessee. Although the character of Neeka, a former slave girl who hunts for the group and clings fiercely to her independence, is rather too obviously relevant, the anthropological background is for the most part smoothly assimilated--even the group's encounter with violent, less civilized primitives and with a trader who shows them their first arrow. Meanwhile the search for the Holy Eye parallels young Kontu's apprenticeship to the priesthood; Kontu foresees the Eye's location in his first vision; proves his devotion to the old priest, Yovo, and his sacred objects, and precipitates the miracle discovery of the Eye itself. In contrast to the liberation of Neeka, Kontu's spiritual self-discovery is subtly woven into the tone and texture of the quest itself. Without straining for effect the authors have managed to project themselves a little way into the consciousness of a pre-Columbian shaman. . . enough to enable Kontu to make contact with the reader who is willing to take the leap into the shadowy past.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1975
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: Dutton