cover image I Am Apache

I Am Apache

Tanya Landman, . . Candlewick, $17.99 (305pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3664-7

On the shortlist for the 2008 Carnegie Medal, Landman's U.S. debut takes its inspiration from references to a woman warrior who fought alongside Geronimo. Landman's own heroine, the narrator Siki, is 14 when she witnesses Mexicans murder her younger brother and vows revenge. Proving herself a brave and cunning fighter, she is allowed to accompany the strongest men on raids against their ruthless enemies, who desecrate the earth by digging mines. The “White Eyes,” Siki knows, “had no understanding that the bounty of Mother Earth was made for all to share.... They hoarded more than they needed, piling it all into a great heap that they defended like snarling dogs.” Siki also experiences visions (or has the Power, as Landman puts it), and she faces test after test of her loyalty. Some readers may be put off by the deliberately exotic tone of Siki's voice: “I could not see the face of [my enemy] Keste, but my presence was like a pebble dropped into a still pool: his ill humor rippled outward.” Others, however, will relish her fiery spirit and feel the joy of her victories and, when ultimate defeat appears imminent, share the pain of her losses. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)