Season of the Jew

Maurice Shadbolt, Author, Maruice Shadbolt, Author W. W. Norton & Company $16.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-393-02431-9
Based on a gory series of skirmishes near Wellington between 1868 and 1869, this novel combines a knockout of a war story, a tour of as yet unexploited Maori country, an account of British imperialism and a portrait of native life and customs to create a vivid pageant of colonial New Zealand. The author, a leading novelist in that country, lives close to the spot where most of the action takes place and quickly draws the reader into this compelling landscape. At the center is a feud between British officer George Fairweather and the greedy mission-educated Maori Kooti, Jehovah's self-appointed spokesman, who rampages through villages garroting the tribesmen, raping and disemboweling their women, setting fire to houses and arrogating the colonists' land to himself. The two had once been friends; Fairweather becomes Kooti's implacable enemy after the Maori conscripts an innocent young native under the officer's protection, an act that eventually leads to the youth's execution for high treason to a queen he's never heard of. A broad canvas of beautifully articulated characters, a tender, credible love story and a searing climatic trial scene make this a novel readers won't soon forget. (May 25)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-87923-753-0
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