The Interpreter

Robert Moss, Author Forge $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-85739-4
In this loose sequel to The Firekeeper, Moss returns to the world of the Mohawk Indians in the 18th century. The fluid but somewhat slow historical novel follows the life of Conrad Weiser, a true-life American pioneer. It begins with his boyhood as one of a group of Palatine Germans who fought for England against France. Living in squalor in Britain after they are no longer needed, the former allies are shipped off to the colonies. Once there, Conrad is sent by his father to live among the Mohawks. When the Palatine German colonists are again abused by the Crown, Conrad leads them in rebellion, the first revolution on American soil. Having learned the ways and language of the Mohawks, Conrad serves as an Indian agent in frontier Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War. Parallel to and finally intersecting with this story is the chronicle, begun in The Firekeeper, of how the Mohawks maintain their independence and way of life in the face of increasing European encroachment. Rich in historical detail and meticulously researched, the narrative skips easily back and forth from the New World to the Old as Conrad voyages one way and Hendrick Forked Paths and other Mohawk chiefs sail to England at the behest of Queen Anne and engage in delicate negotiations, the British wanting one thing and the Mohawks quite another. Though readers will benefit from having read The Firekeeper, the novel is self-contained and offers its own pleasures. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
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