cover image Bearer of the Pipe

Bearer of the Pipe

Don Coldsmith / Author Doubleday Books $21.95 (258p) ISBN 978-

Coldsmith's popular Spanish Bit saga, about a Plains Indian tribe, continues with this evocative installment that takes up where Child of the Dead left off. The Elk-dog People are enjoying a period of peace and stability. Their dreaded enemies, the Head Splitters, have become allies, and they are living in relative isolation from whites, who in the past have brought both dislocation and plagues like smallpox. As the novel opens, Wolf Pup is born to Gray Mouse and to Dark Antelope, the chief tracker and scout of the People. The boy has a very spiritual presence, and as he grows in both stature and wisdom, he apprentices to his grandfather, the holy man Singing Wolf, undertaking an extensive vision quest; he also becomes an expert tracker like his father. Trouble arrives with the arrival of the Snake People in Elk-dog territory. Though the two tribes get along amicably at first, competition for dwindling bison herds may spell trouble ahead. When a tornado destroys the Elk-dog People's village and possessions, they are forced to seek out buffalo in quantities larger than ever before-and the only one to lead them is their young medicine man. Coldsmith tells a persuasive coming-of-age tale, enriched with much detail about Plains Indian ways, and the story takes on a particular poignance as both reader and People come to realize that those ways may be coming to an end. (Sept.)