The Grey Pilgrim

J. M. Hayes, Author Walker & Company $19.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1110-6
This well-written first novel is based on an actual incident in 1940: a recalcitrant Papago Indian chief defied the U.S. government by refusing to register the young men of the tribe under the new Selective Service Act, and disappeared into the desert with his followers. Here, Jujul and his tribe become renegades following a similar incident with an obtuse and arrogant official from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and U.S. marshall J. D. Fitzpatrick is sent in to mediate. A Spanish Civil War veteran still traumatized by his experience, Fitzpatrick finds his attention drawn more strongly to beautiful, young--and married--anthropologist Mary Spencer than to Jujul. In a nicely handled plot twist, the young woman ends up living with the tribe as an observer, without realizing their identities. Disaster strikes when a Japanese agent provocateur arrives on the scene to aid, abet and incite the Indian ``revolution.'' A violent and bloody confrontation is the inevitable result, leading to an ironic and bittersweet conclusion. Filled with bits of Indian lore, peopled with memorable characters and written with a deft humorous touch, the novel eventually surmounts the loss of tension occasioned by an overzealous use of flashbacks. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-1-890208-50-9
Open Ebook - 246 pages - 978-1-61595-087-4
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