SONG OF THE WOLF by Scott C.S. Stone

SONG OF THE WOLF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There seem to be two books here, disturbingly at odds with each other, in Stone's (Spies, The Dragon's Eye) 11th novel. The first is the story of how John Dane, a half-Cherokee from the South, grows up in the native American culture of his mother, Sunlight, and his grandfather Tawodi amid the spirits of the natural world. (""It was not unmanly to be gentle, and a great, enduring characteristic of the Aniyunwiya was the ability to be warlike and gentle and find no contradiction in it."") This is a kind of Indian Guides Handbook material, a ""noble savage"" sentimentality that describes all whites as fat and loutish, and all larger carnivores (panthers, wolves, bears) as distinguished. Then the idyll of Grandfather-Mother-Son is broken by a rape attempt in which the boy hunts and kills a brutish moonshiner--after which the boy discovers his true calling: that of a warrior. ""He was a marine in Korea, a sniper. . . He's built a small but significant mercenary force on his own. And sometime in the past 10 years he got a degree in literature from the University of Hong Kong,"" one of his admirers says to Sara, the beautiful journalist who ""might have been a highly paid fashion model."" The book's long second half is a series of war stories one might expect to find in Soldier of Fortune magazine, as John Dane (rhymes with Wayne, remember) becomes a legend in Asia. He and Sara experience exquisite moments of passion, but she turns on his profession (for which we are meant to condemn her) and enters charitable service in the Cambodian refugee camps. Dane dies saving her from his old foes, the Vietnamese, but not before he gives her his wolf amulet--and gets her with his child. Plagued by an irritating habit of shifting from native American myth to kungfu and gung-ho war movie, Song of the Wolf is an attempt to create a modern-day Achilles figure. But for all its fine words and sentiment, it never convinces us that there is anything worth remembering in this mercenary's life.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1985
ISBN: 1583480013
Publisher: Arbor House