THE HOLY ROAD

Michael Blake, Author . Villard $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-679-44866-2

Eleven years after winning an Academy Award for the film screenplay of his novel Dances with Wolves, Blake offers this dramatic sequel to his tale of army Lt. John Dunbar and his life with the Comanche Indians on the Great Plains. It is now 1874, 11 years after Dunbar deserted from the army to live among the Comanche. He has married Stands with a Fist, the captive white woman raised by Indians, and they have three children. Dunbar has forsworn the white man's ways and is accepted as Dances with Wolves, a full-fledged Comanche warrior. These are hard times for the Plains Indians, however, as the advance of the white man results in war, misery and a gloomy future. When a party of white rangers attacks his village and kidnaps his wife and youngest child, Dances with Wolves goes after them in a wild attempt at rescue. Alongside his tale of Dances with Wolves's personal turmoil, Blake more forcefully tells of the conflicts among the Indians regarding whether to fight the white man or to make peace. Raids, ambushes, atrocities and bitterness on both sides can have only one conclusion, despite an Indian peace delegation that goes to Washington, D.C., to meet the Great White Father. This novel focuses less on Dances with Wolves and much more on the confused plight of the Indians, who cannot understand the white man's greed, duplicity and brutality. Familiar characters from the original novel reappear here in more important roles, making this a more powerful historical novel with a much wider scope. Blake's ability to evoke sadness and joy, action and emotion is as strong as ever, and the ending hits hard. (Sept. 11)

Forecast:Fans of the movie version of Dances with Wolves, starring Kevin Costner, will fall enthusiastically upon this sequel, though once they've bought it, they may be taken aback by the high ratio of history to heroics. A Western reading tour will attract extra attention.

Reviewed on: 07/16/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-59007-066-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7887-8960-1
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-375-76040-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-59007-067-3
Hardcover - 536 pages - 978-0-7862-4340-2
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