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Peyote Fire Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Deer Cloud and his sister, Singing Grass, are orphans in the Bird Wing band of the Rain Bringer clan. Their aunt, Hawk Wing, and their grandfather, Panther Claw, have raised them. This reader loves the names of Black’s characters, groups and especially the gods: Mother Rain, Father Sun, Aunt Moon, Grandmother Grief, Grandfather Fire.
Panther Claw is the head shaman for the Rain Bringers. Deer Cloud is an apprentice shaman. During a dangerous cliff-climbing ritual, the second shaman and Panther Claw’s rival, Stone Face, falsely accuses Deer Cloud of using witchcraft to kill a third shaman who falls to his death. So the central conflict in the story begins.
The story includes another interesting conflict. The shamans have traditionally used the hallucinogenic wolf flower for their rituals and healing. Wolf flower, though, can bring death to those who eat its crushed seeds. Deer Cloud and his ally, Jumping Rabbit, a female shaman, prefer the “little cactus,” otherwise known by them as the “Child of Deer Person and Mother Rain.” Many of the scenes in Black’s novel feature characters quite “high,” as we’d say now, on wolf flower or peyote.
Another welcome ingredient in Black’s prehistoric stew (for this reader, at least) is the carefree sexuality of her characters. Deer Cloud, for example, has a lover, Cliff Swallow, and he also has Jumping Rabbit. Both women appear to be aware of the other, but neither complains. Likewise, Singing Grass has sexual relations with at least three young men. One of them is a trader she knows will eventually move on and leave her.
I highly recommend Peyote Fire: Shaman of the Canyons.
The best part of the book is the last third, where the conflict between the old shaman and the Deer Cloud grows. The peyote dreaming is very realistic. "Deer Cloud felt deep bliss. The truth of all the gods was his at that moment. He was connected with the hearts of the ancestors in deep and perfect harmony. He communed with them as one being, one life, one world in hallowed ecstasy. There were no boundaries between him and the ancestors or the swirling animals who danced before him. His veins flowed with their blood and theirs with his."
Everything related to the buffalo hunt is beautifully done. Deer Cloud, finally coming into his power calls the buffalo: "Come, my brothers, come! Our spirits welcome you to our life. We are the same, you and I."
On the negative side, the dialog paragraphing is off in several places and the sex scenes seem irrelevant to the story.
Overall, it's a very enjoyable read and a good source of information about the time and place.
It’s not a long book like several of the others I have read but a lot of historical detail is packed into the 350 pages. I love the inclusion of so much exacting research into a novel of this nature but some might find more like reading course study. I think it helps to have a strong interest in the time period and the location – and if you want to start appreciating the peoples of this area of what is now Texas this book would certainly be a good start.
The novelization involves orphan siblings Deer Cloud and Singing Grass. Deer Cloud is called to be a Shaman and while attempting a dangerous climb another dies and some feel Deer Cloud killed him. This sets up the main tension in the book. The other being a back and forth over which plant to use for the clans hallucinogenic rituals. The members of the tribe also freely share themselves with each other without any jealousies. While I think I understand where Ms. Black was going with this at times all of the erm, activity seemed more to spice up the book rather than to advance the story.
All in all though, I enjoyed my journey back into the far reaching past and learning about a part of the country I’ve not had the honor of visiting. Maybe someday.
*I received a free copy for my honest review