Ashana

E. P. Roesch, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (404p) ISBN 978-0-394-56963-5
Myths, legends and the folkore of North-country clans and races swirl throughout this saga of an Alaskan heroine, Ashana, who is taken hostage in 1790 by the leader of marauding Russian traders. Under Aleksandr Baranov, the cruel fur dealer to whom she is concubine--mere plunder--Ashana is succored by memories of family life; by a rich pantheistic heritage, especially the spirit world of The Raven; and, most of all, by the love of Jabila, the Alaskan youth to whom she spiritually remains wife despite her abduction. Ashana gradually becomes ``Princess Anna'' as the woman of Baranov, founder of the Siberian trading company whose success brings him honor from Mother Russia, including acknowledgment from the czarina. Ashana's passion for freedom never wanes, but her attempts to escape are thwarted. As the years pass, she bears two children by Baranov, is separated from them and comes to feel the sting of loss less, and anger more. This is a strong rendering of the exploitation of native Alaskan culture by foreigners. Although the rough edges of research are perhaps evident, the broad, sweeping tale enlightens and astonishes. This first novel is a joint effort; Ethel and Paul Roesch have combined the initials of their given names in a pseudonym. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-345-37298-7
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