NIGHT WIND by Roberts Jean Mountjoy

NIGHT WIND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A chunky romantic adventure featuring Indian/white relations, both sanguinary and amorous, in Gold Rush California. The story begins when decent Englishman Marcus Opalgate comes to the Chalanui Indian territory, along with his indecent brother Richard--who accosts the chief's beautiful daughter Pau'tami, rapes her, and dies with a thrust of her knife. The resulting confrontation of Marc and the Chalanuis causes the death of an Indian. And the dread doings of a ploklekwoi--a killer spirit among the Chalanuis--kill Pau'tami's father. So now, called ""Night Wind,"" she leads her people . . . while Marc, grazed by an arrow and swept away by a flood, recovers at a strange mission built by two priests without portfolio: crazy old Fr. Salazar and nice Fr. Rizo. Eventually, however, Marc and Night Wind will unite in cross-cultural bliss by a waterfall--despite Marc's engagement to banker's daughter Laura. And Night Wind will never tell Marc about their children (including a girl who is ritually sacrificed). Marc and Laura marry; Laura has twins and pines for civilization; Marc's newly-arrived sister marries self-defrocked Fr. Rizo after Fr. Salazar's death; Night Wind marries a warrior who will die; there's lumber land-grabbing plus arson. And finally, after assorted killings, rainmaker Night Wind brings on a giant flood while the separated lovers ponder the Chalanuis' claim to their ancestral land. Weak on character and style, strong on Indian lore and busy plotting--an upbeat, well-meaning, rather sluggish epic for hard-core fans of the Indian-girl/white-man genre.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1981
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan