Sue Harrison, Author . Morrow $25 (464p) ISBN 0-380-97372-3

In the tradition of Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear, the world of prehistoric Aleutian and other far north peoples is fictionalized to engaging effect in this third installment of Harrison's Storyteller trilogy (after Song of the River and Cry of the Wind). As two young storytellers recount the legends of their own and related tribes in the wilds of Alaska, the harshness of their lives, their restrictive taboos and the richness of their culture come across as brightly as the northern lights. Yikaas is a young man brought by his aunt, also a storyteller, to the Traders' Beach. He hears many tales in different versions and learns much about other peoples and their ways; more importantly, he meets Qumalix, a young woman whose storytelling makes the legends come alive. Those legends—of Daughter, her adoptive mother, K'os (a villain in many of the stories), Ko's's adoptive son Chakliux and his wife, Aqamdax—give Yikaas and Qumalix the opportunity to examine themselves and prompt them to imagine what they would do in such situations. Though lyrical and honest, the prose does not flow as well as smoothly as it might, and some of the tales are slow and overlong, but the historical information is expertly woven into the novel, placing the reader in each scene. This strong effort can stand alone, and fans of the Storyteller trilogy and new readers alike will be moved by the trials, tribulations and humanity of Harrison's characters, who seem as real as their descendants. Agent, Rhoda Weyr. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/22/2001
Release date: 12/01/2001
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