June 19, 2014

Ghost Hawk - by Susan Cooper

Little Hawk is a Native, living in what will later become Massachusetts as the first wave of English settlers arrive.  This story follows him as he grows from a boy to a man, living three months on his own in the wilderness in search of his manitou (spirit).  Upon his return to his village, Little Hawk finds something that changes the course of his life, and our story.  There are too many surprises in this book for me to say much more, for fear of telling too much.  It is a bit of a mystery, and a delightful supernatural romp through the world of early Native Americans.

Half of the book focuses on a totally different character, an English settler named Tom.  Between Tom's story and that of Little Hawk, we get a good feeling for the challenges, restrictions, but also the pleasures of life during the early 1600's in the American northeast.  Susan Cooper has drifted away from her typical magical mythology writing (The Dark is Rising and The Boggart), to craft a believable, but somewhat ghostly, historical adventure novel.

This is a perfect book for future historians, fans of early American stories, believers in the supernatural, or for any young (or old) person who is willing to look at history from multiple perspectives.

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