cover image Vision of the Hunter

Vision of the Hunter

John Tempest. HarperCollins Publishers, $17.95 (266pp) ISBN 978-0-06-015684-8

Visions play an important role in this absorbing tale of prehistoric hunters living in northern Europe. Abandoned as a baby, young Finn is raised by Hann, the leader of the Burnt Shin tribe, whose natural son is sickly. Finn is painfully aware that outsiders are never initiated as hunters, so he passes his time by playing and relating his visions. After his son dies, however, Hann takes Finn for his own, and trains him to hunt reindeer. Excelling at this new skill, Finn is delighted to be a genuine Burnt Shin; but the herds of deer are dwindling due to overhunting. As the small community begins to fear starvation, Gronu, an early antagonist of Finn's, wrests away Hann's leadership by persuading the others that even more deer must be killed to save the tribe. Finn departs for a solitary (and blissful) life, but returns when a vision presents a way around Gronu's folly. Plausibly plotted and lyrical, this novel by a pseudonymous author of historical fiction is a myth for the modern age. (Feb.)