Thursday 9 July 2015

Track of the Bear

By Don Coldsmith
Bantam, January 1995
First published by Doubleday, May 1994

For as long as anyone can remember, the People have had a sacred Covenant with their brother Bear. Now, without warning, the bond has been shattered as a bear stalks the People on their annual trip to summer council. Fearing the bear is an evil spirit in disguise, Singing Wolf knows he must take matters into his own hands – even if it means breaking the Covenant, wresting power from his father, holy man Walks in the Sun, and alienating his beloved Rain. But as Singing Wolf and Walks in the Sun each struggle to understand the broken Covenant, their crisis foretells an even greater challenge facing the People – both from within and without.

Once again Don Coldsmith’s exceptional ability to write a gripping tale shines through in this story of the struggle to understand spiritual beliefs. The question of why the bear has begun killing the People needs an answer before they can begin to plan how to stop the animal without destroying it and thus giving a death sentence to the creatures’ killer.

Amid the beautiful described landscapes and seasonal change Coldsmith really does capture the frustrations of lack of understanding that twists the soul of Singing Wolf and those he confides in. You’ll share those torments with the People as Coldsmith’s words captivate your imagination, you’ll feel their sorrow as the death count mounts, you’ll find yourself wondering just how this bear, that never shows itself except to those it kills, can possibly be stopped without bringing even greater tragedy down on the People.

Coldsmith solves the problem in an obvious yet unpredictable way that both shocks and surprises. Followers of the series will definitely feel the pain that this conclusion brings to the People, making this book a not to be missed read in the series.

It’s been a while since I read a Spanish Bit novel and this one has left me very eager to read the next in the series as soon as possible.

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